Alberta Highways - Bow River, Calgary

Bow River bridges, Calgary

Starting from the west - actually, starting from the dead centre of Calgary - this is the 1916 Centre Street Bridge, looking east from Sien Lok Park in Chinatown. It's notable for having two decks, the main span from downtown into Crescent Heights, and the lower level connecting the roads on either side of the river. The lower level has a clearance of just 2.7 metres and both lanes can reverse to accommodate rush hours, so clearly it is meant for passenger cars.

The Centre St. Bridge is most famous for its lions, but don't tell anyone these are replicas. The originals were spirited away to be displayed elsewhere. The sheep's heads, or whatever those are, appear to be original because no one wants to vandalize them. No, really, what are they? Is this some "in like a lion, out like a lamb" metaphor? I can see that lion's ribs; is this an animal he can eat?

Heading north across the lower level, then looking west at Prince's Island.

To the east I can see the next bridges to feature on this page, including the Langevin Bridge trusses.

Don't worry, that's an amber light, not red. Red is the two lights on the left.

One last look west at the Centre St. Bridge from the north shore of the Bow River.

The 1909 Langevin Bridge takes 4th St. NE south over the Bow River and turns it into 4th Ave. SE downtown. It's named after Hector-Louis Langevin, one of the fathers of the Canadian Confederation. I bet you can guess which province he represented.

Heading south across the bridge, with a look back west at the Centre St. Bridge.

The 5th Ave. Bridge, which becomes 5th St. NE north of the bridge, doesn't have a special name or interesting construction. It makes up for that with vintage sign gantries featuring vintage signs. The nearest date I can get for this bridge is 1972, and the signs can't be a whole lot newer than that.

Leftward views of the Langevin Bridge, which used to carry one lane each way. These two bridges plus a flyover from Memorial Dr. WB straight into 4th Ave. SE now serve 4 lanes each way. Imagine traffic in 1971.

East but not least, here's the Zoo Bridge, which took 12th St. SE over the Bow River to St. George's Island from 1908 to 2017. Not a bad run, but still sad to see it go considering its other truss brothers live on. Photos start out heading north.

I look west at Calgary, cross the bridge, and look west at more of Calgary. Algoma Steel built several of Calgary's bridges, including MacDonald Bridge over the Elbow River (see big link below). All of Calgary's bridges have inventory numbers, but they tend to be most visible on trusses.

Back south across the Zoo Bridge. The western crosswalk is not closed. That is a sidewalk, not a crosswalk. Pedestrians can't cross here to get to the other sidewalk, either. This is not the correct use of that sign.

One last Zoo view, looking west from the south shore of the Bow.

Over to the Elbow River bridges
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