A temporary bridge over the Elbow River, near Inglewood officially opened on Thursday morning. 

The initiative is all part of the city’s work to replace the aging 9th Avenue bridge, which is more than 100 years old and showing signs of being overstressed. 

The city says about 19,000 vehicles use the bridge to cross the Elbow River each day. The temporary bridge will allow those drivers to continue accessing businesses in the Inglewood area, while the new bridge is being built. 

There will be one driving lane in each direction on the temporary bridge. 

According to the city, there will be no changes to the 8 Street intersection with all movements and turns remaining the same. 

Pedestrians and cyclists will be detoured across the river, south to the MacDonald Bridge or to the pedestrian bridge to the north of the current bridge. 

Over the next few months, crews will work to remove the existing bridge in separate pieces.

The city says the old pieces will be used as part of the bridge heritage interpretation design plan, some pieces will be relocated to Mills Park Inglewood, while some pieces will be kept in storage. Any unused  pieces will be recycled.

Contractors are already beginning to prefabricate new bridge elements at an off-site facility and the hope is to begin construction on the new bridge in the fall. 

The $23 million project is a partnership between the City of Calgary and the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and the cost is shared by the CMLC and the province. 

The city says the new permanent bridge is expected to be complete in the fall of 2020. It will be similar in scale and size to the old one and in the shape of an arch, but raised one metre to ensure it can withstand a flood. 

The old black Inglewood goose sign will also be tacked on to the new bridge in an effort to keep the historical integrity. 

For more on the 9 Avenue S.E. Bridge replacement project, visit the city's website.