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.