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 50 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.

Over a period of two years, 2018 and 2019, the NCC rehabilitated the asphalt surface and enhanced the cycle track of the Portage Bridge. This work aimed at improving safety and user comfort. It will also extend the bridge service life until the need for major reconstruction in 10 to 25 years.

2019 (Work completed)

  • Widening of the current bidirectional cycle track from 2.5 m to 2.6 m, with the addition of a vertical concrete and steel barrier between the cycle track and the motor vehicle lane.
  • Adjustments to the motor vehicle lanes to accommodate the improved cycle track.
  • Rehabilitation of the asphalt surface of the bridge’s northbound high-occupancy vehicle lane leading to Gatineau.

2018 (Work completed)

  • 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.
  • Posted speed reduced to 50 km/h.

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 was the preferred and recommended option for implementation, according to the results of the public consultation and the expert analysis undertaken in winter 2018.

This project is part of the NCC’s major infrastructure projects made possible with the Government of Canada’s $55-million investment from the 2018 federal budget.