Every day, people and goods move between the provinces using one of the five interprovincial bridges or two ferry crossings in the National Capital Region. By 2031, many of these crossings will have reached their capacity.

The NCC is leading the development of the Long-Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan in collaboration with its provincial and municipal partners.

This plan will guide the NCC and partnering agencies in their work. It will offer a shared long-term vision and strategies (to 2050) for the interprovincial transport of people and goods in the region.

Exhibit 1: Maps of interprovincial bridges and ferries in Canada’s Capital Region

The latest on the project

Public consultation

We held the last online consultation on the draft plan from November 9 to 24, 2021. We would like to thank everyone who shared their ideas with us. Our team will analyze all the comments and prepare a summary report of what we heard, which will be published here.

Draft plan

The final draft plan will be tabled for approval at the January 2022 meeting of the NCC Board of Directors. Comments received in the last round of consultation will inform this version of the plan.

Public engagement

The NCC is leading a public engagement process to support the multiple phases of the project. The findings will help inform the policy directions, strategies and vision for the plan.

Different engagement activities have been used to reach over 1,700 people so far, including members of the public, associations and businesses, as well as other federal, provincial and municipal partners, and transit operators in the Capital Region.

The feedback from these groups has demonstrated strong support for the vision, goals and objectives of the plan, as well as the following recommendations for consideration:

  • protect the environment and reduce climate change impacts
  • consider all modes of transportation, including sustainable modes and personal vehicles
  • look at interprovincial transportation as an integrated system that includes more than just the crossings, for example, and traffic impacts when approaching crossings
  • manage the impact of interprovincial truck traffic on neighbourhoods and communities, for example, considerations for downtown truck traffic or diverting traffic to other neighbourhoods.

About the plan

This plan sets a blueprint for interprovincial transport in the region. It treats the interprovincial crossings as a part of a “complete system,” and will support the region’s continued prosperity and quality of life, as well as consider the environmental, economic and social needs of communities and businesses.


This objectives of the plan are as follows:

  • Provide an overview of interprovincial movement, and find solutions for safe, efficient and sustainable travel across the Ottawa River from now until 2050 and beyond.
  • Plan for the long-term environmental, social and economic well-being of the National Capital Region.
  • Meet the needs of growing population in the region, which is set to increase significantly between now and 2050.
  • Optimize the “people movement” capacity of the interprovincial network, and consider trends and important changes to be anticipated that could have an impact on mobility.
  • Evaluate potential solutions to reduce interprovincial heavy truck traffic in the downtown areas.
  • Evaluate governance options that consider the current responsibilities of each partner, future changes in infrastructure stewardship and future mobility technologies.

The vision for interprovincial transportation in 2050

The draft plan includes the following vision, which was developed with the public’s input:

By 2050, the transportation network to cross the Ottawa River will provide well-connected and sustainable travel options that contribute to a high quality of life and economic prosperity in the National Capital Region. The system of crossings will support equitable mobility and the safe and efficient movement of people and goods, while respecting the region’s natural environment and cultural heritage.

Strategies

The draft plan proposes three groups of strategies, categorized by the following timelines that offer the potential to collectively deliver the shared vision (link to vision below).

  • Short-term / Bold starts (immediate to five-year horizon): These are immediate strategies and quick wins that have a very strong potential to move toward achieving goals and objectives. For example, post-pandemic workplace planning, remote work, and learning or recovery investments.
  • Medium-term / Initiating change (five- to ten-year horizon): These are strategies that can be implemented in the medium term and that can play a greater role in shifting interprovincial travel behaviour. For example, improving existing crossings and investing in transit and active transportation, such as cycling lanes or wider sidewalks.
  • Long-term / Sustaining progress (beyond 10 years): These are longer-term strategies where either implementation requires further study or the action may be influenced by the performance of other strategies pursued under bold starts or initiating change. For example, using early strategies to manage the demand on the crossings could have an important impact on future decisions.

Process and timeline

The 2019 federal budget directed that the NCC develop the Long-Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan in collaboration with both provincial and municipal governments.

The development of the plan was undertaken in four phases, and is now almost complete.

  • Phase 1 (completed): Needs and opportunities (summer/fall 2020)
  • Phase 2 (completed): Vision and principles (summer/fall 2020)
  • Phase 3 (completed): Development and evaluation of future scenarios (winter/spring/summer 2021)
  • Phase 4 (under way): Strategic plan (fall 2021 / winter 2022)