CPR Pedestrian Bridge Rehabilitation

This project is to rehabilitate the iconic and historic CPR Pedestrian Bridge over the Red Deer River.
A photo of the CPR Pedestrian Bridge


The CPR Pedestrian Bridge was originally constructed in 1908 by Canadian Pacific Railway and was used for trains until 1990 when the rail line was relocated out of downtown. At that time the bridge was to be demolished but dedicated Red Deerians intervened to save the bridge and convert it to an active transportation structure. Recognizing the importance of the bridge to the history of Red Deer, City Council passed a bylaw in 1991 designating the bridge a Municipal Historic Resource.

With the CPR Pedestrian Bridge being well over 100 years old, many bridge components are showing their age. To ensure the bridge serves Red Deerians for the next 75+ years, the City is planning to complete a full rehabilitation to renew the structure to its original grandeur, meet modern day standards, and create an inviting space for all to enjoy. At a high level, the project scope includes:

  • Removal of old 55 Street underpass bridge along the south pathway approach
  • Reconstruction of timber trestle
  • Replacement of concrete foundations
  • Repair/replacement of corroded steel truss elements
  • Repainting of steel trusses
  • Replacement of timber deck with new durable surface
  • Pedestrian level lighting upgrades on and approaching the bridge
  • Public realm improvements


CPR Bridge - Stage diagram


The anticipated schedule for the project is outlined below. Design work began in November 2022. The project is scheduled to be fully complete by Summer 2026.

Outline of the phases of the CPR Bridge project


Summer 2024 - Project Update

July 2024

As part of early works for the CPR Pedestrian Bridge rehabilitation project, an aging water line 30 meters north of the bridge will be replaced starting July 10. This work is expected to take approximately two weeks to complete. Disruption to the north-south trail is required to complete the work, however, the bridge will remain open for use. Area residents and businesses should expect elevated noise and dust levels during construction. If temporary disruptions of water supply are required, affected residents and businesses will be notified separately.

June 2024

Select tree removal is required in order to accommodate early works, including underground utility replacements and the removal of the old 55 Street underpass bridge.

Tree removal near the bridge will occur in two stages, with the first stage starting Monday, June 17 to Wednesday, June 20. Work will be scheduled from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nearby residents and businesses should expect noise. While there are no road or trail closures expected, there may be minor disruptions to trail users while tree felling is occurring.

A second phase of clearing along the river banks will occur at a later date, yet to be determined.

Clearing will be focused on trees around the old underpass and the greenspace north of the CPR Bridge. See map below.

January 2024 - Project Update

The project team made significant progress through 2023, completing 95% of detailed design and commencing applications for regulatory authorizations. Work on final design tasks and acquisition of remaining regulatory authorizations will continue over the next two months. The construction tender is anticipated to be released at the end of Q1 / early Q2, with construction beginning in late Q2. Once a contractor is selected to complete the work and construction plans and schedules are established, the City will host an information session to provide the public an opportunity to discuss the project and construction impacts to the community.

As part of the project, significant public realm improvements are planned along the pathway corridor between 55 Street and 58 Street. The main focal point will be a prominent plaza/parkette on the north side of the bridge which will enable small community gatherings and provide an area for all to relax and enjoy the views of the bridge and river. View the high-level landscaping vision here (pdf). This vision is high level and will evolve as design details are worked through.

Week of March 27, 2023 – Moving to detailed design

An important milestone has been reached with completion of preliminary design. Over the past four months, the project team has been working hard completing:

  • Development of recommended structure alignment
  • Geotechnical and environmental soil studies and recommendations
  • Site survey and exposure of buried utilities
  • Structural modelling of the existing trusses to determine capacity
  • Hydraulic modelling of the Red Deer River
  • Development of initial applications for project authorizations from Regulatory Authorities

As part of the preliminary design process, a bridge alignment study was completed. Multiple alignments, including an option to maintain the existing alignment, were assessed for risk, cost, and other impacts. The final adopted recommendation is to realign the bridge structure slightly downstream and north of the existing, which best addresses the following:

  • Management of risks related to constructability, flooding, and reliance on the existing concrete substructure
  • Impacts to the environment
  • Impacts to buried and overhead utilities
  • Alignment of active transportation corridor

View the recommended alignment of the CPR Pedestrian Bridge. (pdf). This alignment is subject to minor revisions as the project moves through detailed design.

Week of February 20, 2023 – Underground Utility Investigation

Crews will be onsite beginning Tuesday February 21 to expose underground utilities using a hydro excavation truck. Nearby residents and businesses will hear an elevated level of noise during the work. To ensure public safety, open holes will be protected and backfilled shortly after.

What is hydro excavation? Soil is removed above the utility using a combination of pressurized water to loosen soil and a large vacuum to safely remove the loosened soil. This process ensures the utility is not physically touched and cannot be damaged.

Why is this happening? Exposing underground utilities will provide the design team with the exact location and depth of each utility, assisting in the design process and reducing project risks.

Week of January 9, 2023 – Geotechnical Drilling

Crews will be onsite drilling boreholes into the ground adjacent to the bridge on both the north and south side of the river to determine soil properties. The information collected will guide the design of the new concrete foundations. Nearby businesses and residents may hear some noise during the work. In addition, short-term closures of the bridge are required. During the closures, bridge users will be detoured to the Gaetz Avenue crossing.


The estimated budget for this project is $19.7 million. Federal Grant funding is in place for $11.1 million with the remaining $8.6 million in the approved City budget.