Impressive to some, irritating to others, Queensway Bridge replacement first of five

Rochester Street comes next, followed by the bridges at Percy Street, Bronson Avenue, Preston Street


Amazement may not have been everyone’s reaction to the construction feat that required a nearly four-day closure of Queensway, but for some Ottawanians, there’s no entertainment quite like the complete replacement of a massive road bridge.

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“It’s not like every day you see an overpass taken out and… a new one (puts) in there,” said 10-year-old Jenson, whose mother preferred not to give last names. Unfortunately, he and everyone else who stopped by the construction site on Saturday afternoon missed the most dramatic part of the show: the demolition of the old bridge and the insertion of the new one, moved from a staging area by self-propelled modular transporters. . Still, “cool” is how Jenson characterized it.

For her mother May, the appeal is “to really see that humans are so small in the universe but capable of creating, like big things. That’s the amazing thing, it amazes me.”

It wasn’t the first time Bob Birnbaum had a taste of construction entertainment. He has had a daily vision of an apartment building being built across the street from his. “And that’s fascinating,” he said. “He started by watching them build the crane, which he had never seen build a crane. And just to see how they build the crane with another crane, and then the guys walk around… It was really something extraordinary. It’s been so much fun.

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As a retired doctor, he paused his Saturday afternoon bike ride at a public viewing area set up for the bridge interchange.

“They told me that when I took the aptitude tests, I should not approach engineering. That’s why I find this fascinating. I have no idea what they’re doing.”

Dan Joly looks at the work being done on the Booth St.
Dan Joly looks at the work being done on the Booth St. Photo by Ashley Fraser /post media

Painting contractor Dan Joly stopped by on his way home from a job, hoping to check out the bridge installation he’s seen under construction at his nearby staging area. He’s always been a fan of big machinery and “I’m in awe of how they can do it so fast and keep it steady in time for traffic,” he said. “I’m so sorry I missed the move though, holy shit.”

There is something fascinating enough about highway bridges that for previous projects, the MTO installed steps. In addition to the designated public viewing area just north of the bridge on Booth Street, a live stream of the weekend project was also available online.

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For those who didn’t get a chance to see the action, or those who were anxiously awaiting its conclusion, take note that this is the first in a series of replacements of Highway 417 rigid bridges, using the rapid replacement method and full closures of 82 hour highways. .

Rochester Street comes next (date TBD, per project website) followed by the bridges at Percy Street and Bronson Avenue next summer – “I won’t miss that one,” said Joly – and on Preston Street in July 2024.

closed in both directions between Metcalfe Street and Kirkwood Avenue as of 8 p.m. Thursday, the 417 Freeway is scheduled to reopen Monday at 6 a.m.

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