‘Incident’ leaves LaSalle Causeway closed, reopening time unknown

The City of Kingston erected barricades and signage to close off all access to the LaSalle Causeway on Sunday, Mar. 31, 2024, after an “incident” occurred during scheduled maintenance work. The west side entrance to the causeway is pictured here on Monday, Apr. 1, 2024. Photo by Daniel Tastard-Homer/Kingstonist.

While it sounds like the stuff of a dated, Kingston-based April Fools’ Day prank, the sudden closure of the LaSalle Causeway to all traffic — including bicycles and pedestrians — is no joke.

And people who use the bridge frequently are hoping the timeline for its reopening will not be a repeat of the timeline for opening the “third crossing.”

The aged LaSalle Causeway’s bascule bridge has been undergoing restoration work on and off for quite some time, so when local residents hear that the causeway will have “alternating lane closures” while that work is carried out, it’s not surprising. So no one thought much of the planned closure of the bridge to vehicular traffic.

In fact, that closure to vehicles is precisely what the City of Kingston stated in its weekly traffic report, issued just before 3 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 28, 2024, ahead of the Easter holiday weekend.

“Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) wishes to advise users that the LaSalle Causeway will be fully closed to motorists due to a major rehabilitation project…” the City’s traffic report relayed on behalf of PSPC, the federal agency that oversees the operations and maintenance of the bridge.

“During these periods, all lanes will be closed to vehicular traffic in both directions. The sidewalks will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.”

The traffic report went on to indicate a series of dates and times during which the LaSalle Causeway would be close to vehicular traffic due to the work, as well as another series of dates and times when traffic would be reduced to one lane with alternating lane closures to allow traffic through.

Then on Sunday, Mar. 31, 2024, at approximately noon, the City of Kingston issued a traffic report update about the causeway.

“Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) wishes to advise users that the LaSalle Causeway will be fully closed to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians until further notice,” the City said in a press release.

“During this period, all lanes will be closed to vehicular traffic in both directions. The sidewalk is also closed at this time.”

It should be noted that while reduction of vehicle traffic on the LaSalle Causeway happens often due to construction and repair work, closure of the bridge to pedestrian/cyclist traffic does not.

Kingstonist has updated its weekly road closures and traffic report to reflect the current status of the bridge and known information.

In response to this sudden and surprising complete closure, Kingstonist reached out to PSPC to find out why the causeway was closed to all traffic and why it had not been reopened as planned (it had been scheduled to open at 5 a.m. on Monday, Apr. 1 and stay open until 8 p.m. that day, at which time it was to be closed again to vehicular traffic overnight).

Because Easter Monday is a holiday for federal employees, the provincial and main offices of the agency are not open today, Monday, Apr. 1, 2024. However, Michèle LaRose, a media relations representative for PSPC, responded via email, sharing the limited information available.

“Due to an incident that happened yesterday, the reopening of the bridge is delayed,” she stated.

LaRose did not say what the “incident” was, nor the reason the bridge was closed to traffic of any kind.

“We are working on it, but the estimated time for repair is unknown at the moment, and the bridge will remain closed to all public access until further notice,” LaRose continued.

“We will be able to provide more detailed information tomorrow [Tuesday, April 2].”

Since PSPC made its announcement of the complete closure of the bridge via the City of Kingston, City crews have erected road closure signage and barricades on either side of the LaSalle Causeway.

This is a developing story. Kingstonist will provide updated coverage as more information becomes available.

The LaSalle Causeway was originally opened in 1917, connecting what is now Kingston’s downtown core with the east end. Since 2020, work has been ongoing to update and rehabilitate the bridge, sometimes for extended periods of time. As result, the familiar sounds rising from the bridge as vehicles passed over it suddenly ceased. Kingstonist has inquired about what part of the work to the lovingly nicknamed “singing bridge” has caused the sound to stop and why. Stay tuned for that coverage in the coming days, as well.

For more information on the ongoing LaSalle Causeway bascule bridge rehabilitation project, visit the Public Services and Procurement Canada website.

2 thoughts on “‘Incident’ leaves LaSalle Causeway closed, reopening time unknown

  • Great article / photo.
    Continued good coverage of local events appreciated.

  • I remember going over this bridge as a kid, my mom would get everyone in the car to loudly hum when we went over it. We called it the humming bridge, didn’t know it’s real name til much later in life.

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