‘Midtown’ bridge receives missing funding

Construction on the Clegg-Fifth footbridge  is slated to begin this September 2017 with completion targeted for December 2019. Photo: Image via the City of Ottawa

Construction on the Clegg-Fifth footbridge is slated to begin this September 2017 with completion targeted for December 2019. Photo: Image via the City of Ottawa

By John Dance

Thanks to the recent commitment from Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi, the Fifth-Clegg footbridge is one step closer to improving the quality of life for residents of Old Ottawa East (OOE).

Now that the bridge design has been approved and funding secured, construction will begin this September with completion targeted for December 2019.

On June 23, Naqvi followed through on his longstanding endorsement, pledging $5 million for the new link between the Glebe and OOE.

Naqvi’s announcement follows Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna’s promise of $10.5 million for the bridge. The consequence of the two senior levels of government providing funding is that the city’s funding requirement will be about $6 million for a total cost of an estimated $21.5 million.

Naqvi – in the company of McKenna, Mayor Jim Watson and Coun. David Chernushenko – made the announcement to the cheers of footbridge advocates who have long lobbied for what they affectionately call the “Midtown” bridge.

“Building a bridge to connect our communities will improve the quality of life for our neighbours by encouraging environmentally friendly transportation, improving the accessibility of our city, and ultimately connecting people and building stronger communities,” wrote Naqvi eight years ago.

Bridge advocates at the announcement noted the footbridge will promote healthy transportation and will be much safer than the existing Bank and Pretoria bridges.

The push for a bridge at Fifth Ave. and Clegg St. – the midpoint of the two kilometers of the Rideau Canal between Bank St. and Pretoria Ave. – goes back 110 years when, as a condition for the amalgamation of the village of Ottawa East with Ottawa, a bridge was to be built.

Over the last decade a multi-community advocacy group has campaigned for a footbridge at Fifth-Clegg. Nine community associations, five school councils and numerous other groups endorsed the idea.

“Just as the Corktown footbridge serves many people beyond Centretown and Sandy Hill, the new Fifth-Clegg footbridge will benefit many beyond the Glebe, OOE and Old Ottawa South,” said Chris Osler of the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, one of the many organizations to endorse the new bridge.

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Filed in: FP, Front Page, Main Street Renewal

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