Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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O-Train bridge proposed to be replaced

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On Thursday, Ontario's Ministry of Transportation held a public information session to show its preferred approaches to rehabilitatiing or replacing a whack of Queensway bridges from Holland Ave. through the downtown core. In Kitchissippi, those are the Holland, Parkdale, Fairmont, Bayswater and O-Train bridges. It's an in-depth and exhaustive process; there were 40 boards presented at the session that you can view at

The long and short of the proposals is that for the Holland, Parkdale, Fairmont, and Bayswater bridges, those have been proposed for a major rehabilitation. These involve replacing barriers, a concrete overlay, new asphalt and waterproofing, a new approach slab, and general patching and repair.

At the O-Train, the Province is proposing to replace the bridge using a technique called slide-and-jack. Over the course of two construction seasons, the Province is proposing to acquire the industrial building at the end of Young Street, demolish it, and build new bridge decks that, when complete, will be lifted and slid into place.

What does it all mean for residents? Here's some of the takeaways:

  • The bridge rehabilitations take around a construction season to complete for each. The early thinking is that these could start as soon as 2018. Not all the bridges will be done in the same year. Construction would mean that there would be lane closures under the bridge to funnel north-south traffic into one lane each, and only one sidewalk at a time would be closed to maintain pedestrian access;
  • For those bridges being rehabilitated, there is the potential to add new lighting, as well as narrow the road to add more sidewalk space;
  • The reduction in number of lanes on Parkdale during that rehabilitation is very likely to create significant traffic impacts. Loss of the turning lanes, in my opinion, will create even longer back-ups, and there is the potential that drivers will be looking to use other exits putting pressure on our other streets. We'll need to start thinking about that now;
  • The O-Train bridge replacement would take place over two construction seasons. Young Street would remain open, as would the Hickory Street pedestrian bridge. If the Province is successful in acquiring the 47 Young building, it is not certain what would replace it once it is no longer required as a construction site. There is also the possibility that the east side multi-use path (MUP) could be narrowed through the construction zone or, for a few weeks, even closed while there is construction activity overhead;
  • In its current configuration - see graphic below - the proposal would eliminate the possibility of carrying the west side MUP through the area;
  • Project consulants and engineers say they're hoping that major construction on the replacement O-Train could begin in 2017.

So what's next? The Province is accepting feedback through March 5. My feedback to them will be as follows:

  • I would like to work with the Province, City, and Civic Hospital and Hintonburg communities to discuss narrrowing the road under the Bayswater and Fairmont to help reduce speeds along those corridors, and to add more sidewalk space. This is not a decision that needs to be taken now. The sidewalks will be removed (one at a time) during rehabilitation, and it is not a major change to the immediate plan to restore those in a slightly different configuration;
  • I would like to work with the same partners to see whether we can add sidewalk space under the Holland and Parkdale bridges, as well as lighting, to improve those pedestrian corridors. I'll also be seeking some clarification on the implications of choosing to widen the roadway by widening the space under the bridge so we can create cycling infrastructure. It may be too expensive, but I would like to know what that difference would be. These opportunities don't come along often;
  • It is shortsighted not to take advantage of the O-Train bridge replacement to extend a future west side MUP all the way under the Queensway. Early plans along the spine of the O-Train are for a west side MUP, and it looks encouraging that this will at least extend from the new planned development at 1040 Somerset to the new Gladstone station, but there would be many advantages to extending it further.

Most of these decisions don't need to be made immediately, but the extension of the MUP under the Queensway on the west side would represent a major change to the preferred approach, and it's important to raise now. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and the project web site at has information about getting in touch directly with the project's planners.

I saw many community leaders at the information session over a few hours, as well as nearby residents. I'm looking forward to hearing from even more.


Posted February 28, 2015