The oldest motor vehicle bridge in Saskatoon is known by several names, including the Victoria Bridge, the 19th Street Bridge, and its official name, the Traffic Bridge. But at the moment it might best be called the Trafficless Bridge.
The bridge was closed to traffic on the afternoon of August 24th after inspectors decided further use of the bridge is unsafe.
This includes foot traffic, as warned by this solar powered digital sign.
The underside of the bridge shows its age, but I don't have the training to know exactly how bad it really looks. However it has been suggested this week that the bridge could collapse if traffic were to continue using it in its current state, which must be a bit unnerving to those who have been regularly using the bridge of late.
These gentlemen were busy further evaluating the bridge when I took these pictures the morning of August 25th.
The bridge was previously closed from November of 2005 to September of 2006 to conduct repairs after problems became obvious. Hopes that the repairs taken at that time would increase the longevity of the bridge appear to have been overly optimistic.
The closure has caused a further increase in the traffic flow problems already occuring due to the amount of road construction currently ongoing in Saskatoon, including the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge being limited to single lane traffic. But things could be worse. Due to its narrow size the Victoria Bridge is not used by Saskatoon Transit. Still, the fate of the bridge is a major question, as its replacement would cost tens of millions of dollars, and until it is repaired or replaced traffic flow through the downtown area will be hampered..
This was one of two or three painted on the parking lot in front of the Colonial Cold Beer and Wine Store on 8th Street. I'm guessing this grafitti was done late at night given that there's no sign of it being smudged by being run over. But even then it must take a bit of courage to do that on one of the busiest streets in town, and in front of a business that might have been open at the time.
This is a shot of the Preston Crossing Sobeys store. The sign indicates that like the other Saskatoon stores of the chain this location is now open 24 hours a day. I'm skeptical of any of them getting much business at 3 in the morning, but the Preston Crossing location seems especially unlikely to given its isolation. No one is likely to drive past the store and stop in on impulse. Still, Sobeys decision to go 24 hours is an example of the slowly expanding number of 24 hour businesses in Saskatoon, such as a couple of outlets of Shoppers Drug Mart and the drive through windows at McDonalds.