City, United Way hold auction to be the first to travel across the Waaban Crossing

A rendering of the finished Waaban Crossing. Image via City of Kingston.

The new bridge which spans the Cataraqui River, colloquially known as the third crossing, will open to regular traffic on the afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. After more than 50 years of community conversation, the bridge will be open for use following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially marking the transition to the bridge’s community-selected name, the Waaban Crossing. 

The City of Kingston announced the opening “with great enthusiasm,” noting in a media release that it is the largest infrastructure project taken on by the City to date, with the City of Kingston and the Governments of Canada and Ontario each contributing $60 million toward building this new 1.2 km bridge. The $180-million-dollar project is on time and on budget, the City said. 

According to the release, this would not have been possible without the unprecedented teamwork between members of the project team. The Waaban Crossing is the first bridge project in North America to be delivered using the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) model. The design and construction are the result of ongoing collaboration with the City’s IPD partners: Peter Kiewit Sons ULC (Kiewit), Hatch Ltd. (Hatch) and SYSTRA International Bridge Technologies (SYSTRA). This dynamic team was selected in August 2018 after seven international teams initially applied for the job during a request for proposals, the City said. 

The bridge is the culmination of many years of preparation including environmental assessments, transportation planning, population growth projections, public engagement, information sharing with Indigenous Nations, and partnerships with local, provincial and federal organizations and agencies, according to the City. 

The new crossing will support ongoing growth and development in the Kingston community, enhance access for emergency services and advance the City’s active transportation network, the City said. Community benefits during construction include over 320,000 hours in local contracts and labour from Kingston and surrounding area, 93 contracts secured with local businesses, well over $10,000 in charitable donations given by the contractors, and over 80 community service hours offered by the contractors. 

“The Waaban Crossing, Kingston’s largest infrastructure project in the city’s history, has finally come to fruition. I am pleased that this crossing will connect our city and I am confident it will enhance the quality of life for Kingston residents for generations to come,” said Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen. “It has been a truly collaborative effort and I am thrilled that the federal government’s partnership with the city and the province has made this possible for our city. I am grateful to the construction team and all those who have been a part of completing the crossing – a new dawn is upon us.” 

“I am beyond proud to celebrate this historic moment and officially open the Waaban Crossing,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson. “When I first became Mayor over eight years ago, this bridge was one of my top priorities and it feels great to cross the finish line. Thank you to our dedicated City staff, the project team, the countless people who physically built this bridge in all kinds of weather and during a global pandemic, and the wider community for your support over the years. As we move forward with the new name Waaban Crossing, the bridge offers each of us a chance to reflect on the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Kingston, encouraging us to continue to work together to build a thriving community.” 

Be the first to walk, ride or drive across the new Waaban Crossing 

To mark this historic occasion, the City is partnering with United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) to offer the chance for three community members to be the first to travel across the new bridge through and online auction

“United Way and its funded agencies are grateful for the longstanding partnership with our government partners at the federal, provincial and local level,” said Bhavana Varma, President & CEO of United Way. “We are very honoured that the City of Kingston has included the United Way on this historic day, and to be able to raise funds that will be invested in local programs that help those in need.” 

All proceeds from the auction will go toward United Way’s community programming. Visit 32Auctions.com/WaabanCrossing to place a bid. The winners will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, and contacted directly by United Way staff. 

The City provided the following schedule for Tuesday, Dec. 13:

  • Morning and early afternoon – The bridge and roadway remain closed to the public. 
  • 2 to 2:30 p.m. – Project staff and dignitaries gather on the east shore of the bridge at Gore Road for the official ribbon cutting. 
  • 2:45 p.m. – United Way KFL&A auction winners take their first walk, ride or drive across the bridge. 
  • Early evening – Barricades will be lifted once the winners have completed their trip and the bridge will be open to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. The exact time will depend on the length of the trip. 

The City reminds the community that the bridge remains closed to the public until Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.

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