Crumbling Fort Frontenac wall forces closure of sidewalk near La Salle Causeway

Click to play video 'Fort Frontenac wall causing problems for pedestrians' Fort Frontenac wall causing problems for pedestrians
Crumbling historic Fort Frontenac wall forcing pedestrians to find other routes

The City of Kingston has closed pedestrian access along the east side Ontario Street from The Tragically Hip Way to the La Salle Causeway because of the state of repair of the adjacent Fort Frontenac wall.

The sidewalk along the wall was closed early Friday afternoon for an indefinite period.

The historic limestone wall is about 200 metres long.

READ MORE: Kingston Frontenac library set to re-open this week (March 19)

A recent assessment of the wall, completed by the Department of National Defence (DND), found that it is in need of urgent structural repairs.

The city and DND are working to find an alternate route for pedestrians as soon as possible, because there isn’t a sidewalk on the opposite side of the street.

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH: Kingston and surrounding region hammered by winter blast (Feb. 12)

Click to play video 'Kingston and surrounding region hammered by winter blast' Kingston and surrounding region hammered by winter blast
Kingston and surrounding region hammered by winter blast

The reason for the urgent repair has to do with wildly fluctuating temperatures throughout the winter months.

“There has been a harsh freeze-thaw cycle this year, which caused damage to the stone wall in much the same way it damages the roads,” said Capt. Jeremy Mathews, CFB Kingston’s public affairs officer.

There is no immediate concern that the wall could collapse, but “we are erring on the side of caution and have public safety as our primary concern,” Mathews said. “There are two sections where the facade could break away from the main wall.”

READ MORE: Kingston area on pace for highest number of snow days in last 6 school years (Feb. 7)

Story continues below advertisement

He says there was a plan to remediate the wall over the next two summers.

“Due to the damage from the winter we have to put in a pedestrian bypass sooner than expected,” Mathews said. “The work will begin this summer as planned and will take up to three summers to complete.”

The cost is estimated between $4 million and $5 million.

The Department of Defence and the city of Kingston say a pedestrian bypass solution is still a number of days away. Kingston’s Director of Transportation Services Ian Semple says the two sides are working as quickly as possible to get an alternate path in place to create that connection again. He says that could take a couple of weeks to do.