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Chief William Commanda Bridge multi-use pathway and rehabilitation project

Project Status: 
Underway

Project overview

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Project description

In fall 2021, the City began construction on the Chief William Commanda Bridge multi-use pathway and rehabilitation project. The project consists of the construction of a multi-use pathway (MUP) on the existing inactive and retained Chief William Commanda Bridge and the rehabilitation of the substructure of the bridge such as pier work and stone masonry repairs/repointing on abutments. The MUP will connect to the City of Ottawa’s Trillium Pathway to the south and the NCC Voyageurs’ Pathway in Gatineau to the north.

The construction of this new multi-use pathway will improve active transportation between Ottawa and Gatineau and will serve as an interprovincial link for cycling commuters, recreational users, and visitors.

Photo 1: Project limits

This is an image of the location of the Prince of Wales bridge, total crossing length of 989 metres between the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau on the O-Train Trillium Line.

The City of Ottawa completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) study in early 2021 and design for a multi-use pathway on the Chief William Commanda Bridge and rehabilitation work, as approved by Council on December 9, 2020.

The scope of work will include:

  • The construction of a new timber deck on top of the existing rail track ties
  • Installation of steel cable railing system 
  • New lighting through the pathway corridor
  • The construction of three new multi-use path segments linking the south approach of the bridge to the City of Ottawa’s Trillium Pathway, linking the north and south bridge structures across Lemieux Island, and linking the north approach to the NCC Voyageurs’ Pathway in Gatineau
  • Installation of new park benches
  • Rehabilitation of bridge’s superstructure and substructure components to ensure safety and accessibility for all users  

Photo 2: Project rendering

This photo shows a rendering of the future multi-use pathway bridge

The total estimated project budget (for both the multi-use pathway and the substructure rehabilitation work) is $22.6 million, with approximately $14 million from the City of Ottawa and approximately $8.6 million through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS funding).

Construction is expected to start in fall 2021. The multi-use pathway portion of the project is expected to be completed and operational by fall 2022.

The multi-use pathway will be put in service upon completion of the upper bridge works and will be safe for use. The remainder of the rehabilitation work is expected to be completed by the end of 2023 with minimal disruption to bridge users. Final cleanup work will be completed by summer 2024.

Environmental Assessment (EA) Study notice of completion

The study has been undertaken in accordance with the requirements of a Schedule B project as outlined in the Municipal Class EA (2000), as amended in 2007, 2011 and 2015. As required by the Class EA process, public, agency and Indigenous consultation was undertaken. An on-line Public Information Event was held on February 22, 2021 for stakeholders to provide input on the project. The EA Study recommended the addition of an interim multi-use pathway to the existing Chief William Commanda Bridge Deck.

The EA report has been completed to document the planning process undertaken to date. The EA report was made available for public review for a period of 30 days, starting April 6, 2021.

COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation and the City of Ottawa is committed to protecting people and the community. In an effort to make the EA report more readily available, the report is available below.

Executive summary

EA Report

The complete report, including the appendices are available (under the name Prince of Wales Bridge) at the City’s Central Library located at 120 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa ON K1P 5M2 or by contacting Lei Gong, Project Manager.

History of the Chief William Commanda Bridge

The Chief William Commanda Bridge is an existing, inactive railway bridge, that crosses the Ottawa River between the City of Ottawa (Ontario) and the City of Gatineau (Québec) on the O-Train Trillium Line.

The Chief William Commanda Bridge was constructed in 1879 and the superstructure was reconstructed in 1926. The bridge is formed by two structures (north and south) separated by an island – comprised of six spans in the south structure and seven spans in the north structure. The clear width of the structure is approximately 5 m carrying one track only. The total crossing length is 989 meters.

The City of Ottawa purchased the railway bridge from Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 2005 for a future, longer-term transit crossing. The Chief William Commanda Bridge is being retained as a future rail transit bridge in the City’s Three-Year Rail Network Plan as filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency. In 2013, the Bridge was been identified as a future “Major Pathway” in the City’s Transportation Master Plan and is identified in the Ottawa Cycling Plan Affordable Cycling Project List.

While the Chief William Commanda Bridge is currently closed to public use, the City continues to maintain the structure and perform periodic inspections and evaluations to assess the condition and ensure its integrity.

On July 7, 2021, Ottawa City Council approved the name change of the former Prince of Wales Bridge to the Chief William Commanda Bridge to honour William Commanda who served as Chief of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation from 1951 to 1970. Chief William Commanda was an Algonquin elder, a spiritual leader, a promoter of environmental stewardship, a great bridge builder between nations, and was awarded the Order of Canada in 2008 for his dedication and outstanding service to his people.

Project timelines

Design and Environmental Assessment: winter 2020/2021
Final Design: summer 2021

Construction: The construction includes two parts:

  • Phase 1 - The multi-use pathway is expected to be completed and operational by fall 2022.
  • Phase 2 – Substructure rehabilitation to be completed by fall 2023.
  • Completion: summer 2024

The multi-use pathway will be put in service upon completion of the upper bridge works and will be safe for use. The remainder of the rehabilitation work will be completed in 2023 with minimal disruption to bridge users. Final cleanup work will be completed by summer 2024.

Traffic impacts

Lemieux Island has been closed to the public until the completion of the project which is expected in summer 2024. Onigam Street leading to Lemieux Island remains closed to public access.

Impacts to Lemieux Island green space during construction

Reminder: Access to Lemieux Island Green Space Remains closed until 2024.

Project budget

The approved funds for the environmental assessment and design were approximately $540,000.

The total estimated project budget (for both the multi-use pathway and the substructure rehabilitation work) is $22.6 million, with approximately $14 million from the City of Ottawa and approximately $8.6 million through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS funding).

Public engagement

The City of Ottawa has a proactive communication approach to dealing with construction projects and potential impacts to the public. As part of the City’s construction project process, various opportunities to share information will be used, including updates on Ottawa.ca, e-newsletter and Public Service Announcements.

An online public information session was held between February 22 and March 8, 2021 to present and seek additional input on the EA study and design.

Accessibility

Accessibility is an important consideration for the City of Ottawa. The City makes every effort to provide access through and around construction sites. If you require special accommodation, please contact the project team listed below. Accessible formats and communication supports are available, upon request.

COVID-19

The City of Ottawa, in its commitment to protecting people and the community, continues to work closely with the industry and to comply with recommendations provided by municipal, provincial and federal health officials, as well as the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

Contact information

For any emergency outside normal working hours, please call the City at 3-1-1.
For construction related questions or concerns, please contact the Contractor Representative or the Contract Administrator.
For general project information, please contact the City’s Project Manager.

City Project Manager
Lei Gong, PhD, P.Eng.
Senior Engineer
Design and Construction - Municipal
100 Constellation Drive, Ottawa, ON, K2G 6J8
Tel.: 613-580-2424 ext. 22738

Contractor Representative
Matthew Raymond, B.Eng.
Aecon Construction Ontario East
Tel: 613-806-5820

Contract Administrator
William Rob McKay
Parsons
Tel: 613-883-7590

Project update (May 2022)

The following work has been completed or is on-going during this period:

  • Snow removal and site preparation
  • Installation of temporary safety railing and hanging platform on north bridge
  • Concrete removal, dowel and rebar installation for south bridge pier caps
  • Central guard rail removal
  • Installation of storm sewer on Lemieux Island
  • Installation of lighting conduit on Lemieux Island
  • Structural steel repair on south bridge structure
  • Shaping pathway embankment on Lemieux Island

Upcoming work

  • Formwork and concrete placement for pier caps of south bridge
  • Concrete removal, dowel and rebar installation for north bridge pier caps
  • Mobilization and installation of rail ties

Project update (November 2021)

Ground-breaking event

On Monday, November 29, 2021 his worship, Mayor Jim Watson was joined by the Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities; Yasir Naqvi, Member of Parliament, Ottawa Centre, Ontario; and Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament, Hull-Aylmer, Quebec, as well as representatives from indigenous communities to mark the official start of construction on the Chief William Commanda Bridge.

Work completed this period

The following work has been done or is on-going during this period:

Site preparation

  • Completion of contractor staging and access areas on Lemieux Island and Bayview Yard area
  • Installation of navigation signs on Ottawa River for passing watercrafts
  • Installation of erosion and sediment control measures to prevent the release of sediment from construction sites and mitigate construction related environmental impacts
  • Installation of temporary dock, mobilize work boats
  • Start of embankment work and storm pipe installations

Multi-use pathway structural repairs

  • Start of masonry repointing and repairs on south abutment
  • Removal of existing side rail, build access to rail, install construction railings
  • Clearing of future multi-use pathway and construction access areas of shrubs, stumps and debris
  • Installation of hanging platforms from existing structure
  • Installation of pedestrian protection enclosure over the Sir John A MacDonald Parkway multi-use pathway.

Upcoming work

  • Installation of access platforms
  • Installation of pedestrian railing on North Bridge
  • Investigation of steel repairs
  • Placing rock fill on the pathway on Lemieux Island
  • Preparing pier caps

Construction notice (September 2021)

In mid-October, the City of Ottawa will begin construction on the Chief William Commanda Bridge multi-use pathway and rehabilitation project. The project consists of the construction of a multi-use pathway (MUP) on the existing inactive and retained Chief William Commanda bridge and the rehabilitation of the substructure of the bridge such as piers work, stone masonry repairs/repointing on abutments. The MUP will connect to the City of Ottawa’s Trillium Pathway to the south and the NCC Voyageurs’ Pathway in Gatineau to the north.

Stay informed! Sign up for the Chief William Commanda Bridge newsletter.

Why: The construction of this new multi-use pathway will improve active transportation between Ottawa and Gatineau and will serve as an interprovincial link for cycling commuters, recreational users and visitors.

What: The scope of work will include:

  • The construction of a new timber deck on top of the existing rail track ties
  • Installation of steel cable railing system
  • New lighting through the pathway corridor
  • The construction of three new multi-use path segments linking the south approach of the bridge to the City of Ottawa’s Trillium Pathway, linking the north and south bridge structures across Lemieux Island, and linking the north approach to the NCC Voyageurs’ Pathway in Gatineau
  • Installation of new park benches
  • Rehabilitation of bridge’s superstructure and substructure components to ensure safety and accessibility for all users

When: Work is expected to begin in mid-October with preparatory work for the first few weeks.

Where: The project limits are the rail corridor from the City of Ottawa’s Trillium Pathway to the NCC Voyageurs’ Pathway in Gatineau including the 2 existing railway bridges.

Who: The City of Ottawa has retained the Contractor, Aecon Construction Ontario East, to complete the work.

Traffic impacts

Lemieux Island will be closed to public in late September until the completion of the project which is expected in summer 2024. Onigam Street leading to Lemieux Island will be closed to public access.

Pedestrian and cycling access

Pedestrian access on pathways will be maintained.

Construction disruptions

The Contractor will take every precaution to minimize interruptions to the everyday life of your family and/or operation of your business, but, as you can appreciate, there may be some inconvenience during the course of the work, such as traffic delays, noise and dust. You may feel vibrations at your home or business due to the use of heavy equipment needed to complete this work. This is quite common and typically not an issue for existing structures. The Contractor will monitor vibrations during these operations. We would like to thank you for your patience and co-operation.

The Contractor is fully responsible for any damage to private property as a result of their construction activities. If you think that damage has occurred to your property as a result of construction, please contact the General Contractor directly. The contractor is required by the City to carry liability insurance before any work may proceed.

For daytime construction activity hours of work, the City of Ottawa follows provincial requirements and the City’s Noise By-law (2017-255).

Online engagement opportunity (March 2021)

Posted: 
Thursday, February 18, 2021, 2:41 pm
Last updated: 
Monday, April 4, 2022, 10:01 am

Dates & Times

Monday, February 22, 2021, 12:00 am to Monday, March 8, 2021, 11:45 pm

The City of Ottawa continues to take precautionary steps to protect members of the public. As an alternative to hosting in-person public information sessions, information is being posted to Ottawa.ca. The City remains committed to keeping the public informed of projects occurring in your neighbourhood.

The City of Ottawa invites you to review and provide comments on the Prince of Wales Bridge Interim Multi-Use Pathway by March 8, 2021. Information can be submitted by email or by phone to the City’s project manager named below.

Project display boards [ 4.29 MB ]

For further information about this project and/or to submit comments on the project, please contact the City project manager:

Lei Gong, PhD, P.Eng.
Senior Engineer, Infrastructure Services
Design and Construction - Municipal
100 Constellation Drive, Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
Tel: 613 580-2424, ext. 22738