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Kingston’s third crossing construction in ‘public consultation period’

Click to play video: 'Third Crossing undergoing a 30 day public consultation process' Third Crossing undergoing a 30 day public consultation process
WATCH: Bridge construction has yet to start but city officials are confident the bridge will be on schedule and operational by 2023 – Oct 1, 2019

Construction was slated to begin on the Kingston’s ‘third crossing’ this summer, and while the city says they are still on track to wrap up construction by 2023, bridge construction has yet to start.

Currently the project is undergoing a 30-day public consultation period on the detailed impact assessment for the bridge.

While the assessment process takes place, in-water work has begun in the Cataraqui River where the bridge will be built.

READ MORE: Temporary bridge for Kingston’s ‘third crossing’ to be made out of 80K tonnes of rocks

Mark Van Buren, deputy commissioner in the city’s transportation and infrastructure services, engineering department, says what they’re working on now will help shore up the site.

“It’s really the installation of the turbidity curtains and the turtle exclusion fencing, that’s going to go around the perimeter of the site” Van Buren told Global News.

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When bridge construction does take place, 80,000 cubic meters of stone will be dumped into the Cataraqui River to create a temporary bridge for construction equipment.

The 30-day public consultation process currently underway is meant to allow residents to go over plans and comment before the city seeks final approval from federal government agencies like Parks Canada.

“We’re going to be creating an addendum report that’s going to summarize any of that input that we’ve received from the public and then we’ll be turning that over to the federal agencies to review,” Van Buren said.

Some concerned Kingston residents like Laurel Claus-Johnson, who has been actively fighting the bridge’s potential environmental impacts, are hopeful the plan will be rejected for the sake of the Cataraqui River.

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Click to play video: 'Frog Advocate and Conservationist Matt Ellerbeck visits The Morning Show' Frog Advocate and Conservationist Matt Ellerbeck visits The Morning Show
Frog Advocate and Conservationist Matt Ellerbeck visits The Morning Show – Mar 18, 2019

Claus-Johnson pointed out that the river itself is part of the Rideau Canal waterway, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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“So I don’t know why there isn’t more of a focus on what you would call the climate or the environment of the river” Claus Johnson said.

She is also concerned about the trees that will be cut down along the east shore of the river as well as what kind of long term affect the sediment may have on wildlife.

READ MORE: Tree-cutting at Kingston’s third bridge crossing put on hold

But ultimately, Claus-Johnson says she doesn’t think the bridge should be a top priority for the city.

“There’s too many needs of too many people to say this is the most important thing we’ve done and we’re going to do” Claus-Johnson said.

A sentiment that is also being voiced by Kingston Councillor, Rob Huchison’s constituents.

“There’s residual resentment on the allocation of Councillor’s priorities” Huchison said.

Once the public consultation period is over the city expects to hear back from Parks Canada in four to six weeks about approval and maintain that the bridge is on schedule to be completed by 2023.

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