On Aug. 7, 1974, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit walked a tightrope strung between the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center and made eight passes.

On Aug. 7, 2018, an important moment in Cochrane history is about to unfold. Construction of the Bow River crossing from Griffin Rd. to an extension of the James Walker Trail south is scheduled to begin that day, following years of preparation and decades of debate. More than eight passes are anticipated.A section of the Jim Uffelmann Park will be closed for an estimated 13-month period during bridge construction, starting next Tuesday. The yellow lines indicate new pathways being completed in conjunction with the new river crossing.

Construction is scheduled to start Aug 7. A portion of the north end of Jim Uffelmann Memorial Park, an off-leash and multi-use area, across from SLS Family Sports Centre will be closed for about 13 months to facilitate construction and connection to Griffin Road.

A paved detour around the construction site will be available and there will likely be short disruptions while work is underway.

The week of Aug. 7 the general contractor and earthworks contractor will be mobilizing to the west side of the site to begin the construction, explains project manager Ray Predika. This will include fencing off the site, construction of the access road, establishing site office trailers and parking facilities.  Stripping of topsoil along the future road alignment from Griffin Road to the bridge site will also begin. Work on the east side of the river will start at the end of August.

While Transport Canada has issued a permit for the bridge, the remaining permit applications are under final review and are expected in the next week or two based on conversations with the regulators.  Work will not begin within the river itself until the permits are in place.

With costs pegged at $54 million, the new bridge and the arterial road connections amount to the largest and most costly infrastructure ever undertaken by the town. It includes on-street bike lanes and a separated, parallel three-metre wide multi-use pathway that connects with Cochrane’s existing pathway system.

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