Alexandra Bridge

From: Public Services and Procurement Canada

The view of the Alexandra Bridge

About the bridge

The Alexandra Bridge, owned by the Government of Canada and maintained by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), is recognized as a bridge of national historic importance. Also known as the Interprovincial Bridge, it connects Sussex Drive in Ottawa and Des Allumettières Boulevard in Gatineau. It provides a link between the tourist attractions of the Byward Market and the Canadian Museum of History.

Under normal circumstances, about 18,000 vehicles cross the Alexandra Bridge per day. This amounts to 9% of the vehicular traffic on the interprovincial bridges in the National Capital Region (NCR). About 37% of all pedestrians and cyclists crossing the river daily use the bridge. This is the highest use of all the interprovincial bridges.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as of fall 2022, there has been a 19% reduction in traffic across all interprovincial bridges compared to 2019.

Current Alexandra Bridge projects

We conduct regular inspections of the Alexandra Bridge, and we have installed a monitoring system to provide real-time data on the state of the bridge to ensure it is safe for users.

Additionally, there is currently a boardwalk lane and articulation joint rehabilitation project in the design phase.

Key milestones

  • December 15, 2022: PSPC issued a Request for Proposal to seek professional services for construction management to deliver the project
  • Winter 2023: The contract is expected to be awarded
  • Spring 2023: The work is expected to start
  • Summer 2025: Construction will be completed

Commuting challenges may arise during this rehabilitation project. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that plans are in place to minimize disruptions. In the weeks leading up to the start of construction, information regarding closures to vehicular traffic will be posted on Public Services and Procurement Canada’s website and social media channels.

Replacing the Alexandra Bridge

The Alexandra Bridge is over 120 years old and is nearing the end of its lifecycle. Over the last few years, the state of the bridge has continued to deteriorate. This has and will continue to result in more frequent closures to perform the necessary rehabilitation and repair work to keep serving users. As part of a broader effort to improve interprovincial transportation in the NCR, the government mandated the replacement of the Alexandra Bridge in Budget 2019. To replace the Alexandra Bridge, which is expected to take 10 years, we will undertake the:

The Alexandra Bridge replacement will provide long-lasting economic benefits to the communities on each side of the Ottawa River and more broadly to the region as a whole. A 2018 Life Cycle Cost Analysis studied options for investing in the Alexandra Bridge over the long term. The study determined that:

Several reports and studies have been completed in recent years to assist PSPC in its planning and decision-making based on evidence. Those documents are available for the public upon request.

Video: Alexandra Bridge Replacement Project

A look at the condition of the Alexandra Bridge and the status of its replacement project.

Alexandra Bridge replacement project—Transcript

Start of video

[Music plays]

(Text on screen: Public Services and Procurement Canada)

[Drone shot of Alexandra Bridge with Ottawa and Gatineau in view]

In the National Capital Region, Public Services and Procurement Canada is responsible for three interprovincial bridges:

[Map of Ottawa, Gatineau and the Ottawa River]

(Text on screen: Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, Alexandra Bridge, Chaudière Crossing)

The Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, the Alexandra Bridge, and the Chaudière Crossing.

[Shot of a bearded man in a blue shirt on a grey background]

(Text on screen: Paul Lebrun, Chief Engineer, National Capital Region Bridges, Public Services and Procurement Canada)

My role, first and foremost, is to ensure that our bridges are safe for users. This is done through regular inspections and maintenance.

[Shot of the underside of the Alexandra Bridge]

[Photo of a construction worker on top of the bridge]

[Drone shot of cars driving across the Alexandra Bridge]

[Worker welding steel grating]

[Worker welding and several trucks on the Alexandra Bridge]

[Worker using a grinder on the steel grating of the bridge]

We have a team of 10 professionals who manage the day to day operations of the three bridges. We conduct regular inspections, and plan the maintenance and repair projects needed to keep these bridges safe.

[Timelapse of the Alexandra Bridge with traffic driving across]

(Text on screen: State of the Alexandra Bridge)

[Cyclist bikes past a sign that says “1900 Interprovincial Bridge”]

[Shot of the Alexandra Bridge with a boat next to it]

[Drone shot of the Alexandra Bridge with traffic driving across and green trees on the shore]

[Photo of the underside of the Alexandra Bridge with scaffolding at workers examining the bridge]

[Photo of the underside of the Alexandra Bridge and rusty metal beams]

[Photo of extremely rusted metal]

At more than 120 years old, the Alexandra Bridge is the oldest of the three interprovincial bridges that PSPC manages. In spite of regular maintenance it is nearing the end of its lifecycle and needs to be replaced.

[Animated blueprint of the Alexandra Bridge]

[Shot of a worker with a wielding mask working on steel grating]

To ensure the bridge remains safe, a monitoring system was recently installed that provides real-time data on the state of the bridge, allowing any issues to quickly be identified and addressed.

[Shot of a bearded man in a blue shirt on a grey background]

[Photo of the Alexandra Bridge and the Canadian Museum of History]

(Text on screen: 2009-2010, Replaced center deck, Steel repairs, Seismic retrofit; 2013-2014, Structural steel repairs, Coating of the Hull Trestle; 2016-2017, Structural steel replacement; 2019-2021, Structural steel replacement)

We have completed several rehabilitation projects to make sure that the bridge remains safe for users until it can be replaced.

Despite all of this work, detailed inspections tell us that the bridge continues to deteriorate, mainly due to corrosion.

[Signs indicating the Alexandra Bridge is closed with the bridge in the background]

(Text on screen: Alexandra Bridge Closed)

[Worker using a grinder on steel grating]

[Panning shot of the Alexandra Bridge with a worker welding]

PSPC will continue to conduct regular inspections, perform repairs and monitor critical components of the bridge, until it can be replaced.

[Drone shot of the Alexandra Bridge]

(Text on screen: The Alexandra Bridge Replacement Project)

[Shot of a woman dressed in black in front of a black background]

(Text on screen: Keri-Lee Doré, Senior Project Director, Alexandra Bridge Replacement Project, Public Services and Procurement Canada)

The Alexandra Bridge Replacement Project will provide long-lasting benefits to the communities on both sides of the Ottawa River and to the National Capital Region as a whole.

[Drone shot of the Alexandra Bridge with a boat next to it]

[Aerial photo of the Alexandra Bridge with the Ottawa and Gatineau sides]

[Shot of the pedestrian side of the Alexandra Bridge with people jogging]

It will create a sustainable and dependable interprovincial transportation connection that will improve vehicle traffic and encourage use by pedestrians and cyclists.

[Shot of a woman dressed in black in front of a black background]

The new bridge design will pay careful attention to the history and unique setting of the existing Alexandra Bridge.

[Shot of the Alexandra Bridge taken from the shore]

[Drone shot of the Alexandra Bridge with Ottawa in the background]

For more information regarding the Alexandra Bridge Replacement Project and its consultations activities, visit our website.

(Text on screen: Canada.ca/alexandra-bridge)

(Text on screen: Check us out: facebook.com/PSPC.SPAC, instagram.com/pspc_spac, twitter.com/pspc_spac, youtube.com/PWGSCanada)

[Music stops]

(Public Services and Procurement Canada signature)

(Canada Wordmark)

End of video

Preserving the heritage of the Alexandra Bridge

We are committed to maintaining the integrity of our infrastructure, while ensuring the safety of our assets and conserving their heritage. We are working in collaboration with heritage specialists and museums to preserve the legacy of the bridge . We will also engage with heritage stakeholders for their review and input into a heritage impact study.

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. The decision to replace the bridge was not taken lightly.

The planning and design principles of the new bridge takes into careful consideration the history and unique setting of the existing bridge.

They will also ensure proper flow for pedestrian and cyclist traffic on the new bridge, through well-defined and separated lanes. Like the national buildings and surrounding landscape, the design will provide generous space for pedestrians and cyclists, ensuring their comfort, safety and well-being. A slow zone for cyclists is planned for the bridge approaches.

Engaging the public, partners and stakeholders

PSPC and the National Capital Commission (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. In total, there will be 5 rounds of public consultations.

Partners and stakeholders include:

  • the City of Gatineau
  • the City of Ottawa
  • Indigenous communities

In October 2020, the NCC held online public consultations about the replacement of the Alexandra Bridge. More than 2,300 people took part. The NCC also held 2 virtual sessions for stakeholders. The input received (PDF) during these consultations informed the vision for the new bridge. This was the first phase of a multi-step public engagement program.

In December 2021, the second round of consultations were held. More than 1,800 people took part in the engagement process. Based on these consultations, the NCC created a summary report (PDF) highlighting how the comments raised during the consultations are being addressed now and in the future. The input gathered during these consultations informed the initial phase of the impact assessment process and the next steps in the planning and design stages.

A separate engagement process is also under way with Indigenous partners.

In addition to these consultations, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will conduct its own engagement with the public and with Indigenous groups.

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