Broadway Bridge

Where: Saskatoon, SK.

Engineer: Jack Mackenzie

Date of construction: November 11 1932

Broadway Avenue Bridge, constructed 1932. (Source: Wikipedia)

Site Location: Lat.: 52° – 7’ – 20” N; Long.: 106° – 39’ – 36” W. (GPS: 52.122997, -106.661087). Broadway Avenue across the South Saskatchewan River, Saskatoon. Parking is difficult! From the historic Bessborough Hotel in downtown Saskatoon, walk 0.4 km southwest down Spadina Crescent to cross under the bridge. Many bus routes cross the bridge, including #8.

Plaque Location: On Meewasin Trail, off Spadina Crescent, at the southwest side of the northwest end of the bridge.

Plaque on rock in foreground, view towards the bridge is looking to the south east. (Source: C. Sexsmith)

Plan and Elevation of Broadway Bridge. (Source: Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering)

Construction of the piers and excavation of the south approach (Source: City of Saskatoon Archives)

Arches complete, deck construction underway. (Source: City of Saskatoon Archives)

Bridge opening, November 11, 1932. (Source: City of Saskatoon Archives)

Description: The Broadway Bridge is five-span open-spandrel deck-arch bridge across the South Saskatchewan River at Saskatoon. It was constructed using reinforced concrete in 11 months, opening on November 11th, 1932. It has a total length of 355.2 m. (1,165 ft.), a width of 13.7 m. (45 ft.) and a maximum height at the south end of 24 m (75 ft.). Chalmers Jack Mackenzie, the designer, took a leave of absence from being Dean of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan during construction. The contractor was R. J. Arrand Construction. The high unstable bank at the south end required an innovative foundation design and a steep 4% bridge grade.

Historic Significance: The bridge was built in 1932 during the Great Depression as a relief project. The contractor was permitted to hire from his own staff only a superintendent, a general foreman and an accountant. The remainder of the work force, consisted of unemployed married men, many unemployed white-collar workers, assigned to the project through the Relief Office. The use of machinery was discouraged to maximize labour. The piers were constructed in the winter of 1932, working three 7-hour shifts daily, often in 40-below temperatures. The concrete aggregates were heated before mixing, and the fresh concrete was transported manually by wheelbarrow from the batch plant on shore to each pier. Several of the engineers subsequently became faculty at the University of Saskatchewan including Howard Douglas, a long-time head of the civil engineering department.

Plaque detail. (Source: C. Sexsmith)

Plaque wording: National Historic Civil Engineering Site. BROADWAY BRIDGE SASKATOON. Engineer – C.J. Mackenzie. Constructed 1931-1932. Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. 1985.

Site Historique National de Génie Civil. PONT DE BROADWAY SASKATOON. Ingénieur – C.J. Mackenzie. Construit 1931-1932. Société canadienne de genie civil. 1985.

Link to Online Documentation:

Saskatoon’s Broadway Bridge”, Canadian Civil Engineer, 2013. (See page 28).

J. R. Ostrander and D. C. Oliver, “Construction of the Broadway Bridge at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 1932”, Can. J. Civ. Eng., 1987