LaSalle Causeway not expected to open by start of marine season

Following the stabilization of the LaSalle Causeway lift bridge, inspection and analysis work began on Sunday, Apr. 7, 2024. Photo by Aerosnapper Kingston.

On Friday, Apr. 12, 2024, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) provided an update on the LaSalle Causeway closure, confirming that the bridge will not be operational by the start of the marine season.

According to a release from the PSPC, the specialized equipment brought in last week was able to support the counterweight and stabilize the structure, and PSPC was able to conduct initial inspections on the bridge. See Kingstonist’s previous coverage of the long-term closure announcement.

“Detailed laser surveys will continue this week to determine the precise positions of all parts of the bridge structure. Damage to the compromised diagonal element is extensive and requires a complex repair solution,” the federal agency stated.

PSPC stated it has assembled a diverse team of specialized engineers and contractors to expedite the development of a repair solution.

“We are working tirelessly to develop a solution to fix and reopen the bridge as soon as possible. PSPC is also exploring options to resume safe pedestrian access to the bridge while work is ongoing,” they added.

“The health and safety of the travelling public on the LaSalle Causeway is of utmost importance to PSPC. As efforts continue, PSPC wishes to inform users that the bridge will remain closed for several weeks. The timelines to reopen the bridge to pedestrian and vehicular traffic, as well as to resume marine operations, remain unknown. However, we can confirm that reopening for marine operations by the start of the marine season, which usually takes place on May 1, will not be feasible.”

With regard to marine traffic and the closure of the bridge, Kingstonist reached out to Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises earlier in the week to find out if the closure impacts their usual season and activities.

“Right now there is no impact to Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises, the start of the Navigation Season for the LaSalle Causeway is May 1, so we wouldn’t expect the bridge to lift before that date,” said Eric Ferguson, General Manager of the Kingston Destination Group, which oversees the operations of a number of local tourist attractions and activities, including Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises.

In fact, the vessels they had planned to use early this year (prior to the traditional season) were already docked at Crawford Wharf, their home for the season, Ferguson explained. The Island Queen overwinters at Crawford Wharf, and operated on Monday, Apr. 8, 2024, for a special cruise observing the 2024 total eclipse here in Kingston.

“We also did sightseeing and lunch cruises on Saturday and Sunday: our earliest season start since the Island Queen began operating in 1976,” Ferguson shared the same day as that eclipse cruise.

Two of Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises’ vessels — the Island Belle and the Island Star — are currently docked in the inner harbour and are both are undergoing various off-season projects night now, “so [those vessels] would need to be in the inner harbour right now in any case,” Ferguson said.

At that time, Ferguson said he was hopeful that the bridge would be open for the May 1 start of the season, which will “not be feasible.”

Kingstonist will reach out to Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises to find out how this development will affect the organization’s plans and operations.

According to PSPC, their agency is “committed to providing more information as it becomes available” on this matter, and encourages residents to consult its public notices and social media channels for updates.

With files from Tori Stafford.

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