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Incident on Calgary's Reconciliation Bridge comes to safe resolution

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Nearly 20 hours after a man climbed and remained perched on top of the Reconciliation Bridge in downtown Calgary, the situation came to a peaceful resolution.

Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, police say after hours of negotiation and with the help of the Calgary Fire Department, officers were able to successfully negotiate with the man.

He was voluntarily taken down to safety.

He was then escorted by police to a waiting ambulance and transported to hospital.

Police were first called to the Reconciliation Bridge around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Fourth and Fifth Avenue fly overs – one of the main arteries into the downtown core – were shut down for a police command centre on the bridge.

By 10 a.m., the Fifth Avenue fly over reopened, but drivers were still being told to try alternate routes to get into the downtown core until the situation was fully resolved.

EMS as well as the Calgary Fire Department were also at the scene.

The shutdowns impacted thousands of drivers.

Traffic was bumper-to-bumper on Edmonton Trail, there were major slowdowns along sections of Memorial Drive and buses were forced to detour their routes.

"It's a big mess, you know? They've got it all blocked off and people coming this way, they have to turn around and find different routes to get in and out of here," said witness John Harris.

"I noticed that both Edmonton Trail and Centre Street were backed up kind of all the way to my house in Renfrew, so (I) quickly turned my car around, hopped on my bike and went downtown that way," said Phillip Meintzer. 

Calgary police closed Reconciliation Bridge, the Fourth Avenue flyover and the Fifth Avenue flyover on Thursday, March 28, 2024.

The remaining flyover was reopened after the man was down.

"We recognize that this incident significantly impacted access for many Calgarians commuting into the downtown area for work, accessing their homes and local businesses, while also causing several delays in the surrounding areas," police said in a release issued Thursday evening.

"We appreciate the public's patience as emergency crews worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of all involved.

"We would also like to thank our partners at the Calgary Fire Department, the City of Calgary, and Alberta Health Services for aiding us in bringing a safe resolution to this incident."

Calgary police say the man involved had suffered a mental-health crisis when he climbed the bridge.

The investigation is ongoing and police say charges may be pending.

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