July 17, 2018 1:10 pm

Voyageurs Pathway repairs begin, to be completed in ‘late fall’: NCC

The "full rehabilitation" of the Voyageurs Pathway on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River is expected to cost about $661,000, the National Capital Commission says.

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As repair work on the Voyageurs Pathway began Monday, the National Capital Commission (NCC) said the recreational Gatineau trail is expected to fully reopen in the “late fall” – about a year and a half after heavy rains and historic flooding rendered a large stretch of it unusable.

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The “full rehabilitation” of the popular pedestrian and cycling pathway is expected to cost about $661,000, a spokesperson for the commission, which manages the track, said in a statement.

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The section of the Voyageurs Pathway between the Portage Bridge and the Canadian Museum of History has been closed since the spring of 2017, when the May floods caused severe damage – including erosion and sinkholes – to the trail, which hugs the shoreline of the Ottawa River.

Repairs were originally scheduled to begin this spring and wrap up by the fall – but the river’s water levels rose again, delaying the start date.

An NCC spokesperson said the repairs will better protect the pathway in the future.

“The Voyageurs Pathway … will be rebuilt to higher standards, increasing resiliency in the face of further extreme weather events,” Dominique Huras said in an email. “The NCC is keenly aware that pathways in the core are regarded by residents and visitors alike as defining assets of Canada’s Capital and rank among its most valued recreational assets.”

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Huras said the repair work will include:

  • Removing and rebuilding damaged asphalt, retaining walls and vegetation
  • Reinforcing the shoreline using rip-rap and vegetation
  • Reinforcing and replacing pedestrian bridge abutments
  • Cleaning up the site before reopening the pathway to the public

“It is important to note that the work involved for the Voyageur Pathway is significant and complex,” she wrote. “As such, it required the approval and co-operation of several government authorities, including for land access permits and environmental assessments.”

The NCC has pegged the cost of repairing all flood-related damage in its network of paths at approximately $3.4 million. The Lac-des-Fées Pathway, located west of Hull, was “damaged beyond repair” and needs to be completely replaced, for example.

The Ottawa River Pathway behind Parliament Hill also took a hit but reopened sooner than anticipated in November 2017.

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