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Public Infrastructure Investment in NCR Bridges

GATINEAU, Quebec, January 17, 2012 — The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, along with Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament for Nepean–Carleton and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, today announced a Government of Canada investment in major capital and maintenance projects on the Chaudière Crossing and Alexandra and Macdonald-Cartier bridges located in the National Capital Region, as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

“These bridges are vital components of the National Capital Region’s infrastructure as they provide essential inter-provincial links between Ottawa and Quebec,” said Minister Ambrose. “Our Government is committed to ensuring that these bridges remain safe for the thousands of Canadians they serve daily.”

“The bridges that we are investing in contribute significantly to the economic activity and prosperity of the National Capital Region, serving commuters and business people and carrying goods, on a daily basis,” said Parliamentary Secretary Poilievre. “Our Government’s investment in bridges in the nation’s capital will create local jobs and generate long-term economic benefits for the entire region for years to come.”

The Macdonald-Cartier Bridge rehabilitation project will include a seismic retrofit, the replacement of the guardrails and the centre median, the replacement and widening of sidewalks, the replacement of the lighting and electrical system, as well as localized repairs to the abutments and piers, including components such as the roadway deck, expansion joints, drainage system, stringers, floor beams, box girders, coating system and approaches. The work will be undertaken over three years and is expected to start in the spring of 2013.

The Alexandra Bridge project includes a protective recoating. The project will be carried out over a two-year period and is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012.

The Chaudière Crossing project, which is already underway, consists of minor steel repairs and a protective recoating program. Additional work on the Hull section of the crossing also includes the replacement of the deck, sidewalk and barriers, seismic upgrades, and protective repainting of the existing structural steel elements. The work will be conducted over two years and is expected to begin in the fall of 2012.

Public Works and Government Services Canada is committed to a fair, open and transparent tendering process, which will be conducted through the Government Electronic Tendering System (MERX).

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Backgrounder

National Capital Region Bridges

Public Works and Government Services Canada is currently the custodian of three of the five bridges that connect Ottawa and Gatineau, namely the Alexandra Bridge, the Chaudière Crossing and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge. As part of its ongoing commitment to ensuring that these bridges remain safe, the Government of Canada is investing in several rehabilitation projects in the National Capital Region.

Macdonald-Cartier Bridge

The six-lane Macdonald-Cartier Bridge was constructed in 1965. The bridge currently carries approximately 35% to 40% of total daily traffic between Ottawa and Gatineau, amounting to an average of about 59,000 to 76,000 vehicles. It is also one of two designated truck routes in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, with truck traffic accounting for roughly 4% of the total traffic.

The work being undertaken includes a seismic retrofit of the bridge, the replacement of the guardrails and the centre median, the replacement and widening of sidewalks, the replacement of the lighting and electrical system, as well as localized repairs to the abutments and piers, including components such as the roadway deck, expansion joints, drainage system, stringers, floor beams, box girders, coating system and approaches.

The construction work is expected to begin in summer 2013 following the completion of the design work, and it is anticipated that the work will be completed in three years.

Alexandra Bridge

The Alexandra Bridge was built between 1898 and 1901. It was originally designed as a railway crossing, with a single railway track, two pedestrian paths, two streetcar tracks and two carriageways. In 1967, the structure was converted into its current configuration, with one northbound traffic lane on the east cantilever, one southbound traffic lane between trusses and one pedestrian/cyclist boardwalk on the west cantilever.

The bridge currently carries approximately 13% of all traffic between Ottawa and Gatineau, which amounts to approximately 22,000 vehicles per day. It also conveys about 40% of all pedestrians and cyclists.

Over the next two years, beginning in spring 2012, the North Hull Trestle of the structure will be given a new coat of protective paint, designed to prevent steel corrosion. Minor steel repairs may also be undertaken should deficiencies be detected during the coat preparation work.

This work supplements the rehabilitation work done on the Alexandra Bridge in 2009 and 2010. The previous rehabilitation projects extended the service life of the bridge and included structural improvements to ensure its functionality, while preserving much of the original features and heritage character of the structure.

Chaudière Crossing

The Chaudière Crossing was the first bridge connecting Ottawa and Gatineau over the Ottawa River. It consists of eight separate structures built at various times between 1827 and 1978. There are various types of structures connecting natural and man-made islands and causeways that are linked together by road.

The Crossing, a designated truck crossing, currently transports approximately 16.5% of daily traffic between the two cities, which amounts to an average of some 28,000 vehicles per day. Work is being planned on two sections of the Crossing—Union Bridge, built in 1919, and the Hull Causeway, built in 1956. This will include the replacement of the deck, sidewalk and barriers, seismic upgrades, and protective repainting of the existing structural steel elements.

The construction work is expected to begin in fall 2012, and it is anticipated that it will be completed in fall 2013.

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