The Portage Bridge is a major commuter route over the Ottawa River for interprovincial travel between Ontario and Quebec (Ottawa and Gatineau). On average, the bridge carries approximately 40,000 vehicles a day, with a posted speed of 60 km/h. The bridge’s cycling lanes are used by over 300,000 cyclists per year, with the number of cyclists increasing by 4 percent each year.

About the project

In order to respect the budgetary envelope for this major rehabilitation project and minimize the construction impact on traffic, we now plan to implement the project in two stages.


  • Temporary measures to improve safety on the bridge’s bidirectional cycle track.
  • Rehabilitation of the asphalt surface on five of the bridge’s six lanes: three southbound lanes leading to Ottawa and two northbound lanes leading to Gatineau.
  • Repairs to the drains and the bridge expansion joints.

The construction work is expected to begin in August and continue until the end of September 2018.


  • Adjustments to the motor vehicle lanes to accommodate the improved cycle track.
  • Widening of the current bidirectional cycle track from 2.5 m to 2.6 m.
  • Addition of a vertical concrete and steel barrier, 27.5-cm-wide and approximately one-metre-high between the cycle track and the motor vehicle lane.
  • Rehabilitation of the asphalt surface on the bridge’s northbound high-occupancy vehicle lane (leading to Gatineau).
  • Reduced posted speed to 50 km/h.

This construction work is expected to begin in spring 2019 and be completed by the end of summer 2019.

The first stage of work on the Portage Bridge in 2018 will be undertaken at the same time as the following projects:

  • Bronson Pulp Mill ruins public access project
  • 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
  • reconstruction of the Voyageurs Pathway

Public engagement

During the development of the project plan, we took the opportunity to ask the public, stakeholders and interest groups to provide feedback on proposed options to improve the bridge’s cycle track. The option chosen by the NCC’s Board of Directors in April 2018 is the preferred and recommended option for implementation, according to the results of the public consultation and the expert analysis undertaken in winter 2018.

Next steps

The work on the Portage Bridge will affect traffic in 2018 and 2019. We are now in the process of developing a traffic management strategy for those who use the Portage Bridge. To ensure safe operations for all, from beginning to end, we will proactively announce lane closures, construction schedules, work progress and all impacts, through our communications channels and social media platforms.