Bridges and crossings in the National Capital Region
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About the bridges and crossings
The Government of Canada owns the five bridges and crossings that traverse the Ottawa River between Ontario and Quebec.
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is responsible for the:
The National Capital Commission (NCC) is responsible for the:
The crossings are vital links between Ottawa and Gatineau. In 2017, the five crossings carried close to 150,000 vehicles and 9,000 pedestrians and cyclists every day.
Keeping bridges safe
PSPC and the NCC are working together to coordinate construction schedules to minimize the disruption of activities for each of their respective bridges.
PSPC has a rigorous inspection, monitoring and intervention regime to ensure that all its bridges and crossings remain safe at all times for users. PSPC performs routine and scheduled inspections.
- weekly and monthly maintenance inspections
- general inspections performed by engineers every year
- comprehensive detailed inspections performed by engineers every four years
- underwater inspections by PSPC every four years
If an inspection reveals any issues, PSPC takes immediate action to address and solve these matters as quickly as possible, as our top priority is the safety of all commuters.
Coordination of projects
We work in coordination with the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, as well as with the provincial governments of Ontario and Quebec. We are constantly exploring new ways to reduce the impact of construction. We are also working together to ensure that all bridges and crossings are not closed at the same time.
Due to ongoing maintenance and repair projects, we sometimes need to close lanes on the bridges and crossings.
Visit lane reductions and closures on interprovincial bridges in the National Capital Region to plan your travel.
Budget 2019 announced $80.4 million over 10 years to repair and maintain the:
- Chaudiere Crossing
- Alexandra Bridge
- Macdonald-Cartier Bridge
Replacing the Alexandra Bridge
The Alexandra Bridge is more than 100 years old. It is nearing the end of its service life and will need to be replaced within 10 years.
Budget 2019 committed to replacing the Alexandra Bridge. PSPC and the NCC will work together to consult and coordinate with our stakeholders, such as the City of Gatineau, the City of Ottawa, Indigenous communities as well as other jurisdictions, to develop a comprehensive plan that will strive to reduce impacts to the public while the bridge is replaced.
The bridge replacement project is currently in the beginning of the planning and consulting stages. The planning, design and construction process will take about 10 years. The length of time to replace the bridge will ensure that all impacts, such as environmental, are studied before, and mitigated during, the building of the new bridge and removal of the old bridge.
The bridge replacement project is part of a broader effort to improve transportation between Ontario and Quebec in Canada’s capital region.
Work on the new bridge is scheduled to begin in 2028 and is expected to be complete by 2032.
PSPC will ensure a regular, rigorous inspection, monitoring and intervention regime so that the bridge remains safe at all times for all users until it is replaced.
Reasoning behind the decision to replace the bridge
PSPC conducts regular inspections, maintenance and repairs to ensure the bridge is safe. However, over the last decade, even after completing several large repair projects, the state of the bridge continued to deteriorate.
Executive summary of the cost analysis study
To help with our planning, PSPC retained a consulting firm to analyze the costs and look at the options for the Alexandra Bridge over the long term.
The study determined that:
- replacing the bridge would be less disruptive to the public than trying to maintain it
- it would be more cost-effective to replace the bridge than continue to maintain it
- we can keep the bridge in service until its replacement
Preserving the heritage of the Alexandra Bridge
The Canadian Society for Civil Engineering recognized the Alexandra Bridge as a bridge of national historic importance. It is an example of significant engineering achievement. It was conceived by Canadians and built by Canadians. This recognition does not mean we cannot replace the bridge. We are working in collaboration with heritage specialists and museums to preserve the legacy of the bridge.
The design guidelines for the new bridge will pay careful attention to the history and unique setting of the existing Alexandra Bridge. They aim to ensure that crossing the new bridge remains a visually breathtaking experience.
Engaging the public, partners and stakeholders
PSPC and the NCC will consult with the public, partners and stakeholders throughout the planning and design phases. This will help us deliver a new bridge that meets people’s needs.
Partners and stakeholders include:
- the City of Gatineau
- the City of Ottawa
- Indigenous communities
In fall 2020, the NCC held online public consultations about the replacement of the Alexandra Bridge. More than 2,300 people took part. They also held two virtual sessions for stakeholders. This was the first phase of a multi-step public engagement program. In total, there will be five rounds of public consultations. The next round of consultations is scheduled to take place in 2021.
The input received through this phase of public consultations will inform:
- the vision for the new bridge
- the design guidelines
- how we will assess the impact this project will have on people and the environment
In addition to these consultations, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will conduct its own engagement with the public and with Indigenous groups.
For more information on the engagement program and how you can register for the next round of consultations, visit the NCC’s Alexandra Bridge replacement webpage.
A plan for bridges and crossings
Budget 2019 also committed to developing a long-term, integrated plan for the interprovincial crossings. This plan looks to add in the changes, including Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit, that have been made since the NCC published the last plan in 2013.
The plan will integrate with other previously made plans. By doing this we hope to:
- increase the benefits of sustainable and well-connected multimodal transportation
- reduce traffic congestion
- promote sustainable interprovincial truck movement
Through a shared vision and strategic collaboration, this plan aims to augment the quality of integrated interprovincial transport and sustainable mobility for the next 30 years. The National Capital Commission is leading the plan and will work with:
- Indigenous groups
- the Ontario provincial government
- the Quebec provincial government
- the City of Gatineau
- the City of Ottawa
Study for a new bridge
As mandated in the 2019 federal budget, we are refreshing technical studies previously undertaken by the NCC to address new information, including:
- new transportation data
- updated air quality modelling techniques
- land use and property plans
- other socio-economic data
The refresh of the studies does not include a recommendation for a specific corridor.
The refresh of the 2013 studies considered only technical elements of a potential sixth interprovincial crossing. It pertained to eight technical reports on the three interprovincial crossing locations previously identified as having the most potential.
These refreshed technical studies will inform any future considerations of this project. Further planning work would include an impact assessment that provides for comprehensive consultations with the public and stakeholders. It will also leverage the results of the long-term integrated interprovincial crossing plan.
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- Lane reductions and closures on interprovincial bridges in the National Capital Region
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