As we move closer to the bridge across the expanse of the Cataraqui River becoming a reality, the City of Kingston’s Third Crossing Team has provided an update on the progress and status of the project that touches on items pertinent to local residents.
Construction of the bridge, to be officially named the Waaban Crossing upon its opening, began in 2019, and has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to having been classified an “essential infrastructure project” by the Province. According to those with the City of Kingston, the project remains on schedule and on budget, and completion is projected for late fall of this year.
Here’s a look at your Third Crossing news for July 2022:
Styrofoam issues and clean-up
As the snow began to melt earlier this year, those Kingston residents near the Third Crossing construction sites began to notice another fluffy white substance in the area – and not one that got there naturally. Residents on both sides of the Cataraqui River reported bits of Styrofoam along the shorelines and floating atop the water. In an ‘Ask Me Anything (AMA)’ interview with Mayor Bryan Paterson on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, Mayor Paterson was asked about the issue by a viewer. While he said he had just recently learned of the problem – which has reportedly been caused by animals chewing at the Styrofoam buoys suspending the turbidity curtain meant to contain all sediment from the construction – Paterson indicated he knew City of Kingston staff were well aware of the matter, and that he was confident it would be addressed soon (video footage of the full AMA is available on the Kingstonist Facebook page).
It should be noted, however, that issues with animals chewing at the very items meant to keep from disrupting natural aquatic life during the construction began long before the spring thaw. Kingstonist first reported on the Styrofoam litter just over a year before the aforementioned comments from Mayor Paterson, and further documented the progress of clean-up efforts in mid-May 2021.
Still, according to the latest update from the Third Crossing Team, Paterson’s optimism on this round of clean-up efforts being successful was seemingly well founded.
“In mid-June we successfully finished removing all the problematic turbidity curtains, with the final segment removed on Tuesday, June 14. The team finished installation of the new, wildlife-resistant curtains and continued clean-up of the project site, surrounding water and shoreline,” the Third Crossing Team said in an update on Friday, Jul. 29, 2022.
“The project team is encouraged that the amount of remaining debris has significantly decreased over the last couple of months. Nevertheless, regular shoreline inspections will continue upstream and downstream along the river, along with any required clean-up. The environmental team will also continue monitoring the project site and surrounding area to protect the wildlife habitat.”
The Team indicated that, should residents notice Styrofoam debris at or around the Third Crossing construction site and would like to report it, it is best to take a photo of the Styrofoam that includes a landmark as a reference point – or to include a note on where the Styrofoam is located. Photos and messages about the Styrofoam can be sent to [email protected].
Kingstonist inquired with the Third Crossing Team about the new turbidity curtains (what they’re made of and if they include Styrofoam), as well as how much Styrofoam was removed from the Cataraqui River and shorelines during the clean-up efforts. No immediate response was received by time of publication.
New public input opportunities
The July 2022 update also included information on upcoming community engagement opportunities that will allow for public input. The Third Crossing Team hinted at plans for the west shore, noting that the next public engagement opportunity will launch on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. During this, the Team will share “scheduled site restoration plans and landscaping works,” they said in the update.
According to the Third Crossing Team, the site restoration and landscaping will include:
- Planting new trees
- Building new and enhanced accessible connections to promote active transportation and healthy living
- Re-vegetating impacted areas
- Restoring the shoreline
More information on the public engagement opportunities will be released in the coming weeks, the Third Crossing Team said, and those wanting to participate can register at the City of Kingston’s Get Involved Kingston website.
For more information on the Thurd Crossing project from the City of Kingston, visit their Third Crossing website.
Kingstonist will update this article if/when more information on the Styrofoam removal and new turbidity curtains becomes available.