Learn more about the maintenance and replacement projects for this important bridge that connects Ontario and Quebec.
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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 34% of all pedestrians and cyclists crossing the river daily use the bridge. This is the second highest use of all the interprovincial bridges.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a 35% reduction in traffic across all interprovincial bridges compared to 2019.
Current Alexandra Bridge projects
We conduct regular inspections to ensure the Alexandra Bridge is safe for users. To ensure that the bridge is maintained in safe condition there is currently:
- a structural steel replacement project
- a boardwalk lane and articulation joint rehabilitation project
Structural steel replacement project
We are capitalizing on the reduced traffic (due to the pandemic) in the core of the NCR. During this time, we continue to work on the structural steel replacement on the Alexandra Bridge.
The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic from January 2 to June 14, 2021. The remainder of the work will continue mainly from barges, enabling the bridge to remain open to vehicular traffic. Any required vehicular lane closures after June 14, 2021, will take place during weekday evenings (7 pm to 6 am) or weekends (Friday at 7 pm to Monday 6 am). The boardwalk will remain open at all times.
Commuters can stay informed about the work that will be performed on the Alexandra Bridge and resulting lane closures through our social media platforms and our web page on lane reductions and closures on interprovincial bridges in the National Capital Region.
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:
- impact assessment activities
- construction of a new bridge
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:
- 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
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.
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, including contributions from Heritage Conservation Services (HCS), which oversees management and disposal of federal heritage assets. 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.
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 2 virtual sessions for stakeholders. This was the first phase of a multi-step public engagement program. In total, there will be 5 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 planning and design principles
- how we will assess the impact this project will have on people and the environment
In addition to these consultations, the Impact Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will conduct its own engagement with the public and with Indigenous groups.
Contact the Real Property Branch
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