October 11, 2018 4:02 pm
Updated: October 11, 2018 4:04 pm

Multipurpose path on Jacques Cartier bridge to be off-limits for winter season

In this 2017 file photo, protesters on the Jacques Cartier Bridge want access to safe modes of active transportation all year. Following a pilot-project the bridge corporation announced the bike path would not be open for the 2018 winter season. Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

Sebastien Gagnon-Dorval/Global News

The multipurpose path on the Jacques Cartier Bridge will not be open during the winter, said Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc. (JCCBI) on Thursday.

The decision was made following a winter maintenance pilot project last year in which various snow removal and deicing options were tested and analyzed.

READ MORE: Active transportation advocates argue for year-round access to Jacques Cartier Bridge bike paths

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While active transportation activists have been pushing for year-round access to the bridge, the corporation said it had yet to find a “viable and safe solution” to ensure cyclists are safe at all times while on the path during the winter months.

The JCCBI identified three major challenges, that together, pose increased risks for cyclists during the winter months.

The first relates to the specific weather conditions over the St. Lawrence River. The conditions are described as “wet, windy and changeable” and conducive to the formation of black ice.

READ MORE: Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie the deadliest borough for cyclists

Furthermore, because the path is elevated and only 15 centimetres thick, it lacks the insulation that paths on roadbeds benefit from and is highly reactive to harsh weather conditions.

Lastly, the corporation said preventing ice fall from the superstructure has yet to be resolved.

While some cyclists might be disappointed at the news, Catherine Tremblay, JCCBI’s senior director of projects and construction, explained it wasn’t the end of the road quite yet.

“Although the pilot project was not conclusive enough to allow us to keep the multipurpose path open this winter, this is not the end of the project and we will continue to look for solutions.”

READ MORE: Confusion and danger surround Notre-Dame-de-Grâce’s Grand Blvd. bike paths

Tests are planned in the coming months to try and reduce the risks associated with keeping the path operational in winter.

The path is currently open roughly nine out of 12 months.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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