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Alexandra Bridge could be replaced within 10 years

The Alexandra Bridge is closing to vehicle traffic for the first four months of 2021, but will remain open for pedestrians and cyclists. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Alexandra Bridge, one of the five interprovincial connections between Ottawa and Gatineau, could be replaced in the next five to 10 years.

The Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) won’t say if the bridge will actually be torn down, but spokesman Charles Drouin confirmed there have been preliminary internal discussions about plans to replace it within the next decade.

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The Alexandra Bridge is the oldest of the five bridges spanning the Ottawa River, first opening to traffic in 1901. Repairs and maintenance have become a regular occurrence, with at least two major projects scheduled between June 2019 and December 2022.

Even with a demolition tentatively planned in the coming years, PSPC says regular maintenance is necessary to keep the bridge safe until it can be fully replaced.

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The first restoration project is set to take place between June 2019 and June 2020, with steel structures being replaced at various locations on the bridge. The Gatineau-bound lane will be closed for the duration of the work, with the centre lane operating as a reversible lane for traffic, while the boardwalk will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.

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Then, from June 2021 to December 2022, the steel under the boardwalk will be replaced. The boardwalk will be closed, with the centre lane being closed to vehicles and used as a temporary boardwalk, and the Gatineau-bound lane serving as a reversible lane for traffic.

The Alexandra Bridge connects Parliament and the National Gallery of Canada on the Ottawa side to the Canadian Museum of History on the Gatineau side and is considered an important connection for tourism in the area.

Among all five bridges, the Alexandra Bridge is responsible for approximately nine per cent of daily vehicle traffic between Ottawa and Gatineau, while the boardwalk accounts for roughly 33 per cent, according to the PSPC.

Demolition and replacement of the bridge, expected to take about three years, would likely lead to congestion issues for the other bridges in the region.

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