Historic Sites of Manitoba: Disraeli Bridge / Disraeli Active Transportation Bridge (Disraeli Freeway, Winnipeg)
The Disraeli Bridge and Expressway (now known as the Disraeli Freeway) were built in 1958-1959, taking their name from Disraeli Street in the Point Douglas area of Winnipeg through which they pass. The facility opened to traffic on the morning of 20 October 1959. Funded by the Province, City of Winnipeg, and City of East Kildonan, the project was twice-previously turned down by local ratepayers. The cost-sharing project marked the second new crossing over the Red River since 1917.
A year later, the project was completed at a cost of $5.5 million and an official ribbon-cutting and rocket launching (one rocket for each levels of government) opening ceremony was held on 19 October 1960. Accompanied by the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band, the bridge was opened officially by Mayor Stephen Juba. Also in attendance was Premier Duff Roblin and members of the East Kildonan Municipal Council. A reception later that day was held at the Fort Garry Hotel where one of the commemorative luncheon menu items was “Cream of Chicken Disraeli,” served to an invitation-only crowd. A commemorative plaque unveiled that day was later replaced with the present plaque, then affixed to the original bridge structure, and a larger roadside monument situated near the corner of Disraeli, Maple Street, and Henry Avenue.
Designed with a metal grid roadbed, allowing for debris and precipitation to fall though, the bridge was paved in 1971 by the Dominion Bridge Company at a cost of $633,000. Beginning in 2008, both bridge spans were replaced as part of a $195 million renovation project. The new bridges were opened officially on 19 October 2012, 52 years after the first official opening. The piers for the original bridge spans were modified and converted into the Disraeli Active Transportation Bridge (DATB) while the rail crossing piers and span were removed.
A replacement plaque is now affixed to the superstructure of the southern-most pier of the DATB and located immediately above a new plaque commemorating the DATB’s dedication on 19 September 2013. Located on the DTAB’s northern-most pier is an engraved stone tablet bearing the names of all members of the 2013 city council.
Photos & Coordinates
Photo caption [new Disraeli Bridge], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 January 1959, page 3.
“City of Winnipeg fabrication and erection of steel superstructure,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 February 1959, page 38.
“Twice-defeated Disraeli Bridge is now open,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 October 1959, page 3.
“Naming the Freeway,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 October 1959, page 31.
“Street jams eased,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 October 1960, page 1.
“Disraeli paving okayed,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 June 1971, page 2.
“Opened in error,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 May 1996, page B8.
Disraeli Bridge Project, City of Winnipeg.
We thank Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 14 November 2020