$180 million Kingston ‘Third Crossing” bridge to completed by 2023 – but construction hasn’t started

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Kingston says bridge construction will be completed as expected by 2023, but work on the city’s $180 million ‘Third Crossing’ scheduled to begin last summer has not yet begun.

Currently, the project is undergoing a 30-day public consultation period that opened mid-September, on the detailed impact assessment for the bridge. While the assessment process takes place, in-water work has begun in the Cataraqui River where the bridge will be built.

Kingston is building a Third Crossing bridge across the Cataraqui River from the foot of Gore Road in the city’s east-end to the foot of John Counter Boulevard in its north end. The bridge is the largest infrastructure project the city has ever undertaken and is being funded by all three levels of government – each contributing $60 million.

The new 1.2-kilometre, two-lane bridge will access for emergency services, increase active transportation through a multi-use pedestrian and bike pathway, create greater business connectivity and enhance the quality of life for the residents and visitors of Kingston.

An environmental assessment found benefits of a bridge would be:

  • Decrease traffic congestion along the Lasalle Causeway
  • Provide additional access to the east end of the city for emergency vehicles and City services
  • Provide an alternative route during Lasalle Causeway closures
  • Provide an opportunity for active transportation with a multi-use trail
  • Accommodate future growth
  • Enhance the Rideau Canal

There are four phases of the city’s Action Plan for the project:

Phase One – 2009 to 2013 – Environmental Assessment – Completed

Phases Two and Three – January 2016 to June 2017 – Preliminary Design and Business Case Completed

Phase Four – February 2018 to ongoing – Detailed Design and Construction – Underway (2018 – 2022)

When completed, the bridge will provide:

  • a multi-use pedestrian and bike pathway with rest areas.
  • sidewalks and cycle lanes on the road approaches.
  • connections to waterfront trails on either side of the Cataraqui River.
  • two lanes for vehicle traffic that extend over the Cataraqui River and onto John Counter Boulevard on the west shore and Gore Road on the east shore Montreal St.
  • Approximately 350 metres of roadway from the bridge abutment on the west shore to the intersection at John Counter Boulevard and Montreal Street.
  • Approximately 400 metres of roadway from the bridge abutment on the east shore to the intersection at Gore Road and Highway 15.
  • Four-metre multi-use pathway(s) along the south side of the bridge deck for active transportation and look-out and interpretive areas.
  • Barriers for public safety to separate the vehicle traffic and the multi-use path.
  • Public viewing areas on the east and west shores.

Mark Van Buren, deputy commissioner in the city’s transportation and infrastructure services, engineering department, says current work will help shore up the site.

“It’s really the installation of the turbidity curtains and the turtle exclusion fencing, that’s going to go around the perimeter of the site” Van Buren recently told Global News.

When bridge construction takes place, 80,000 cu. m.  of stone will be dumped into the Cataraqui River, to create a temporary bridge for construction equipment.

The public consultation process currently underway is meant to allow residents to go over plans and comment before the city seeks final approval from federal government agencies like Parks Canada.

An addendum report will summarize input from the public and will be reviewed by the city and federal agencies.,” Van Buren said.

Once the public consultation period is closed, the city expects to hear from Parks Canada within four to six weeks about approval.

Residents fighting the bridge’s potential environmental impacts, say the river is apart of the Rideau Canal waterway, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Canada has 17 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a list that recognizes places of historical and cultural value. Rideau Canal in Ontario is one of those sites.

The Rideau Canal connects Canada’s capital of Ottawa to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River at Kingston. Travelling from Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario, the Rideau Canal was built for military purposes in 1832.

It is primarily used for pleasure boating and is operated by Parks Canada. The canal system uses sections of two rivers, the Rideau and the Cataraqui River, as well as several lakes. It is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and in 2007 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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