McIlraith Bridge history and background
The McIlraith Bridge was constructed in 1964 to link Smyth Road (East Approach) and Main Street (West Approach) over Rideau River and Riverside Drive.
In 2005, the City of Ottawa undertook the process of assessing the conditions of the structure. The assessment of the structure identified a need for major structural repairs.
Following the assessment, the City of Ottawa initiated the detailed design process for the rehabilitation. The detail design is now nearing completion and construction is planned to begin next year.
The work will be carried out two (2014 & 2015) construction seasons with a winter shutdown.
Four lanes of traffic will be open during winter shutdown with construction activities limited to the underside of the bridge.
Study area for the bridge rehabilitation work
The study area extends from the end of Main Street to the Riverside Hospital entrance.
The project is located within the limits of
- Ward 17 – Capital (Councillor David Chernushenko)
- Ward 18 – Alta Vista (Councillor Peter Hume)
General objectives of the bridge rehabilitation project
The goals of this project are:
- Repair the bridge
- Improve roadway illumination
- Provide bicycle lanes on the bridge
- Repairs to pathway under the structure from Main Street side
General scope of structural rehabilitation of the bridge
The Structural rehabilitation of the McIlraith Bridge includes:
- The removal of the centerline median to widen the road in order to accommodate bicycle lanes adjacent to the sidewalks
- Repairs to concrete
- Concrete overlay on the deck
- Seismic upgrades
- Expansion joints replacements
- Replacement of waterproofing and paving of the bridge
- Sidewalks and parapet walls repairs
- Abutment repairs
- Painting of the steel support structure
- Improvements in illumination
- Bird screen protection installation
- Repairs to pathway on Main Street end
Cross sections of existing and proposed bridge following rehabilitation
The slides, linked below, represent the existing and proposed section of the bridge. As can be seen, the centerline median will be removed to create a wider roadway and in turn allow the creation of designated bicycle lanes.
Cross sections of existing and proposed bridge following rehabilitation [ PDF - 348 KB ]
Comprehensive scope of work
The work will be carried out over the 2014/2015 construction season. The work on top of the bridge will be halted for winter 2014/2015 with the bridge open to four lanes of vehicular traffic. The timing of work and specific scope is as follows:
Stage 1 work – May 2014 to October 2014:
- Install detour for stage 1
- Install hoarding for protection of pedestrians on the paths under the bridge
- Install Protection System under the Structure
- Temporarily raise the pedestrian railing on sidewalks
- Repair the bridge in stage 1 and pave
Winterize - November 2014:
- Install temporary concrete barriers between West-bound and East-bound traffic.
- Install pavement markings for winter.
- Open the road to full Four lanes of Traffic for winter
Winter shutdown [ PDF - 1.8 MB ]
November 15, 2014 - March 30, 2015:
- Four lanes of traffic open on the Bridge
- Work underside of the Bridge
- Reface Concrete Abutments
Stage 2 work – April 2015 to October 2015:
- Install detour for stage 2
- Repair the bridge in stage 2 and Pave
- Install Seismic Reinforcement
- Paint the Bridge
- Install Bird Screens
- Lane Reductions on Riverside Drive (June-August)
- Street Lights Improvements
Bridge after rehabilitation
The rendering below represents how the bridge will look following rehabilitation with the steelwork painted in grey and new luminaries added.
Illumination improvements on the structure
A need for improvements in the illumination was identified in the design stage. The improvement will include replacement of existing luminaries with a more efficient type and the addition of new luminaries placed between the existing ones. Click on the attachments to view the details of the illumination improvements.
Proposed illumination improvements [ PDF - 619 KB ]
Traffic staging during construction
An elaborate staging will be required to allow carrying the work, while maintaining vehicular traffic, allow passage of bicycles and pedestrians during repairs to the structure. Click on the link below to view details of the proposed staging during construction as well as control of pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
Traffic staging during construction [ PDF - 593 KB ]
Winter shutdown traffic control
Separate provision will be required to control the traffic during winter 2014/2015 while accommodating the construction and varying conditions associated with construction work. Click on the link below to view the details how the traffic flows will be maintained in winter when construction activities on the top of the structure will be suspended.
Winter shut down traffic control [ PDF - 1.8 MB ]
Riverside Drive staging mid June to August 2015
In order to paint and repair the bridge, closure of lanes on Riverside Drive will be required. This is mainly due to the fact that there is insufficient clearance from the road to the underside of the bridge to allow installation of a platform under the bridge while maintaining traffic. To carry out the work safely, lane reductions on Riverside Drive will be necessary and these reductions will take place in the summer of 2015. Click on the attachment to see the detail on lane closures on Riverside Drive.
Riverside Drive staging - traffic control [ PDF - 632 KB ]
Riverside Drive staging - traffic control (cross section) [ PDF - 1.3 MB ]
Pedestrian protection under the bridge
In order to ensure public safety, enclosures will be constructed under the bridge over the two pedestrian/bicycle pathways on either shore of the River. These enclosures will have the sides open allowing a view of the river. Further public safety will be enhanced by installation of lighting. Click on the link to the attachment to see the details of the enclosures over pathways.
Proposed pedestrian protection under the bridge [ PDF - 535 KB ]
Following this public Open House, the following steps will need to be taken to complete the project:
- Receive public comments (June 2013)
- Finalize design (2013)
- Tendering process (Fall 2013)
- Construction start (April 2014)
Review of pedestrian/cycling connectivity at east side of the McIlraith Bridge
Genivar, on behalf of the City of Ottawa, carried out a review of the existing pedestrian and cycling connectivity at the east end of McIlraith Bridge (Smythe Road).
The goals of this project are to:
- Evaluate potential for improvements in pedestrian and cycling facilities;
- Meet the standards of the new Ottawa Accessibility Design Standards; and
- Recommend a safe and affordable facility for the community.
- Assess the potential for construction of ramps and staircases for connection to the NCC bicycle path.
The study area extends from the McIlraith Bridge to the NCC pathway on the east side of the Rideau River.
Aerial view of study area
Ottawa accessibility design standards (OADS)
City of Ottawa is bound to respect the newly developed and approved by Council Ottawa Accessibility Design Standards (OADS). The main requirements contained in the Standard that relate to assessment of possible improvements in cycling/pedestrian facilities at east end of McIlraith bridge are:
- Where stairs are installed a ramp shall be provided immediately adjacent to the stairs.
- Design guidelines from the accessibility design standards, section 2.2, ramps design guidelines for ramp design include:
- minimum width: 1100mm between hand rails;
- maximum ramp length is 9000mm between landings;
- maximum gradient on 1:15 (6.67%); and
- landings: 1675mm x 1675mm (min.).
A total of 7 alternatives were reviewed. The primary evaluation parameters included: degree of enhancement in pedestrian/bicycle traffic connectivity, meets community expectations, feasibility of construction, compliance with the standard and costs.
The selected alternative consists of multi-use pathways connecting McIlraith Bridge to the existing signals on Riverside Drive and the NCC pathway. This plan promotes healthy living by maximizing pedestrian and cyclist connectivity, is a safe and affordable facility and complies with the City’s OADS.