Ontario Refuses to Alter Planned Two-Year Closure of Colonel By Drive, Queen Elizabeth Driveway for Bridge Replacement

Replacement of the deteriorated Queensway bridge over the Rideau Canal could require the two-year closure of both Canal parkways running under the bridge.

Replacement of the deteriorated Queensway bridge over the Rideau Canal could require the two-year closure of
both Canal parkways running under the bridge. Photo by John Dance


John Dance

Despite considerable opposition from local residents, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) will not alter its plans to close both Colonel By Drive (CBD) and Queen Elizabeth Driveway (QED) for two years as the Highway 417 Rideau Canal bridge is replaced.

As reported in the December issue of The Mainstreeter, MTO claims that their current plans are to “mitigate the permanent property impacts on 221 Echo and 3/5 Hawthorne Avenue [the buildings at the corner of Echo and Hawthorne and one up from the corner].” But the businesses in the two buildings in question have already closed, in part because of the anticipation of the disruptions caused by the bridge project.

A number of residents objected to MTO’s previous plan that would have required the demolition of the two buildings, but they could never have imagined that the price for saving the two buildings would be a two-year closure of the parkways and their pathways.

It appears that after five years of study, MTO will not deviate from this new plan. “A Federal Advisory Committee (FAC), including Parks Canada, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and Transport Canada, has been consulted throughout the project,” Steve Taylor, the president of MTO’s engineering consultants recently wrote to Tom Scott, the chair of the transportation and infrastructure committee of the Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA). “The proposed recommendations were presented to the FAC and the City of Ottawa and they endorsed the Technically Preferred Plan, including parkway closures, before this information was presented to the public.”

While the recommendations were discussed and endorsed by various bureaucratic parties, there was only “information sharing” and no real consultation with the residents who will be most affected. “OOECA asked for a ‘live’ Public Information Session to which both City of Ottawa and NCC staffers would be invited, but MTO backed out,” notes Scott. “There was still no good answer to our question as to what communities were ‘consulted’ and when, regarding these significant shifts from the previously public environmental assessment presentations.”

“So your current option is to close the two parkways for two years to avoid impacts on empty buildings,” OOECA board member Don Fugler has responded to Taylor. “Old Ottawa East only has two ways to travel north. Closing Colonel By at the Queensway leaves it only one north/south route. This morning [January 30], I passed all the cars on Main Street on my bicycle because vehicular traffic was not moving. Now you plan to add all those vehicles using Colonel By to this congestion, plus you’re detouring cyclists. This makes no sense.”

“The new bridges must be constructed on temporary piers and abutments (ends of the bridge) that will be in place for the duration of the construction period (90 weeks),” Taylor explained to Scott. “The temporary piers are directly within the travel lanes of the two parkways and they cannot be relocated. In addition, the temporary piers and abutments are one of the first construction activities and must be in place for the entire duration of the Rideau Canal construction phase.”

While parkway users will be greatly inconvenienced and traffic congestion will be aggravated in Old Ottawa East, the engineers’ new plan is designed to avoid lengthy detours or disruptions for Highway 417 motorists, Canal boaters or Skateway users. When Scott questioned this imbalance, Taylor responded, “Impacts to the municipal streets and federal parkways are as important as impacts to the Highway 417; however, the construction works have different impacts.”

Given the importance of this issue to daily life in Old Ottawa East, The Mainstreeter will follow up on this issue with Councillor Shawn Menard and MPP Joel Harden. The MTO site with relevant information is: https://queenswaydowntownbridges.com/en_CA/.

Filed in: Community Links, Front Page

You might like:

A Growing Season for the Main Farmers’ Market – New Location, New Management Hold Promise of Exciting Future for Local Market A Growing Season for the Main Farmers’ Market – New Location, New Management Hold Promise of Exciting Future for Local Market
NCC’s Rideau Canal Plans Finally Come to Light NCC’s Rideau Canal Plans Finally Come to Light
OPINION – Part 2: Unlock The Vault – Here Comes Lansdowne 2.0 OPINION – Part 2: Unlock The Vault – Here Comes Lansdowne 2.0
Notice of The Mainstreeter Annual General Meeting Notice of The Mainstreeter Annual General Meeting
© 2024 The Mainstreeter. All rights reserved. XHTML / CSS Valid.
Proudly designed by Theme Junkie.