Enhanced look and greater access: Coming soon to the Portage corridor

Canada’s Capital Region - Improvements to the look, as well as the ease of access to the Portage corridor will be in place before the end of the year. Today, the National Capital Commission’s (NCC) Board of Directors approved two major projects that will enhance the Portage corridor, one of the Capital core’s most defining cultural landscape elements. Stretching across the Ottawa River along the Portage Bridge, the corridor includes Richmond Landing, with the Royal Canadian Navy Monument, the Bronson Pulp Mill ruins, Victoria Island and the shorelines on both sides of the river.

The two projects approved by the NCC Board of Directors are as follows: 

  • Portage Bridge: Surface improvements and new cycle track
    • Widening of the existing bidirectional cycle track from 2.5 metres to 2.6 metres, with a 25-centimetre vertical barrier between the cycle track and the motor vehicle lanes.
    • Adjustments to the motor vehicle lanes to accommodate the improved cycle track.
    • Actual construction work on the bridge will begin in July.
  • Bronson Pulp Mill ruins: Improvements to pathway connections and universal access
    • Construction of a new pedestrian tunnel between the Mill Street Brew Pub parking lot and Richmond Landing, with signature lighting.
    • Creation of interpretive spaces on the Bronson Dam and on Amelia Island.
    • Reactivation of vintage and architecturally relevant (Schreiber) lighting systems on the structures supporting the Portage Bridge and on adjacent pathways.
    • Work on these sites will begin later in the spring.

The works on the Portage Bridge will occur simultaneously with the work to modify the pathways and stairs that lead from the Portage–Wellington intersection to Richmond Landing and from the Ottawa River Pathway to Richmond Landing, as well as the Voyageurs Pathway reconstruction.

The work on the bridge will start in July and will affect traffic patterns. The NCC is in the process of developing a traffic management strategy for users and visitors who use the Portage Bridge. To ensure safe operations for all, from beginning to end, the NCC will proactively announce lane closures, construction schedules, work progress and all impacts, through its communications channels and on its social media platforms.

QUICK FACTS

On the Portage Bridge

  • The Portage Bridge currently includes a 2.5-metre-wide concrete bidirectional (two-way) cycle track on the east side of the bridge, which forms part of Confederation Boulevard, with a number of connections to existing and planned cycling facilities.
  • On average, the bridge carries approximately 40,000 vehicles/day, with a posted speed of 60 km/h.
  • The Portage Bridge cycling lanes are used by over 300,000 cyclists per year, with the number of cyclists increasing by 4 percent each year. On an hourly basis, during the morning and afternoon commutes, the number of cyclists crossing the bridge is over 400 per hour.

On public access to the Bronson Pulp Mill ruins

  • One of the NCC’s top priorities is to offer public access and new connections for Canadians to discover the Capital’s shorelines and waterways.
  • The 2005 Core Area Sector Plan identified the islands’ potential, and recommended a policy to augment pedestrian connections to the variety of river and channel/canal environments, through pathways, linkages and lookouts.
  • Phase 1 of this project, delivered in 2016–2017, saw the installation of a lighting system in two existing pedestrian tunnels under the Portage Bridge intersection, in cooperation with Canadian Heritage.

On access to the Richmond Landing shoreline

  • Phase 1 of the project, which will be substantially completed in spring 2018, includes the installation of a new dock at Richmond Landing, providing universal access for the public and water shuttle services to the landing, to create better connectivity with the Royal Canadian Navy Monument.
  • For Phase 2 of the project, a universally accessible pathway from the Portage–Wellington intersection will be completed to provide access to Richmond Landing, the Royal Canadian Navy Monument and the existing Capital Pathway network

“These major projects in the Portage corridor will advance the National Capital Commission’s efforts to open access to the waterfront and provide the opportunity for the public to discover its natural and historical features thanks to renewed infrastructure. These are steps in building a thriving and connected capital for all Canadians, ensuring that all can enjoy the benefits of public universal access and improving connectivity to destinations along the shorelines.”

Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer, National Capital Commission

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