Tough Decision Ahead On Canal Bridge

- September 23rd, 2012

The top concept was put forward by Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg for the Lansdowne Park urban park design competition. The bridge over the Rideau Canal was removed from the firm’s winning design. At bottom is the latest concept for a pedestrian bridge between Fifth Ave. and Clegg St.

The price tag for the proposed $17.5-million pedestrian bridge over the Rideau Canal could raise some questions at City Hall. A previous concept that was included in a proposal for the urban park at Lansdowne Park had a bridge that was cheaper.

The urban park design teams were free to draw a bridge in their concepts. The winning firm, Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, included an eye-catching footbridge and an island in its drawing, but the city decided those two features, with a combined estimated cost of $22 million, was too rich.

The bridge alone was $14 million and the seven-member jury decided to defer it, since an environmental assessment for a new bridge over the canal was already in the cards. (Jurors were also concerned the Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg bridge would upstage the rest of the park).

To be fair, there are some differences. The Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg bridge was placed directly beside Lansdowne. The environmental assessment, which later examined all possible crossings, chose Fifth Ave. and Clegg St. as the best location for a new bridge in that stretch of the canal. Also, Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg bridge was estimated in 2010 dollars.

As Susan Sherring notes in her column, it’s a tough time for the city to talk about a new multimillion-dollar bridge when councillors just learned there needs to be an annual $165-million investment in asset repair by 2022. Lansdowne is a priority for this term of council, and while the bridge is a separate project, it obviously would help people get to the park, especially when one of the most significant question marks with the Lansdowne redevelopment is getting to the park.

By the way, there are several pedestrian bridges planned in Ottawa. There’s the $7-million bridge over the Rideau River and the $8.8-million bridge between the Via Rail/Transitway station and Ottawa Stadium.

There could be another bridge in the works, too. The feds are planning a new complex off on Tremblay Rd., across the highway from St. Laurent Centre and the Transitway station. The plan calls for a new pedestrian bridge over the highway to the station. The city, however, would expect the feds to front the cash for it.

—–
Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Categories: Lansdowne

Subscribe to the post

2 comments

  1. Doug Singer says:

    As a resident of Old Ottawa East I have great concerns over the costs of this project. I suspect the estimate does not include the “realignment” of Colonel By Drive to accomodate the landing site on the east side of the canal. I do not understand why the site located at the widest portion of the canal was chosen. Clearly the cost would far exceed the cost of the existing footbridge located north of Pretoria. I do not understand why a location between Bronson and Bank st. was never considered – a narrow portion of the Canal, high banks, ample landing area on both sides, no need to realign. It would serve the biking community, join the Glebe and Old ottawa South, provide a safe route for children attending Hopewell avenue school and be far less intrusive on this World Heritage Site.
    We all have “wants” for our city but at thi9s time “needs” take priority.

  2. JK5670 says:

    Build a bridge connecting houses to houses? Why? The point of a bridge is to connect destinations. In this case, a bridge is being built for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is to provide the Lansdowne Park Redevelopment the greatest chance of success. Considering that Carleton is already at the far end of the Bronson bridge, what would the destination be on either side of a bridge connecting Old Ottawa South and the Glebe between Bank and Bronson? Nothing. there is no major transportation route on either side for cyclists to link to, thus traffic elimination would be negligible.

    I don’t see the logic in placing a bridge where it is not needed.

    5th Ave and Clegg on the other hand is the exact opposite.

Leave a comment

 characters available