New design features for third crossing unveiled

A rendering of the latest design plans for the third crossing. Image supplied by the City of Kingston.

Helping to kick off the new year with some exciting news, Mayor Bryan Paterson unveiled some of the new design features of the third crossing at his annual address to the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce.

Paterson displayed the above new rendering of the bridge design at the event on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, and explained that the process for designing and building the third crossing is now at a point where all of the major players – City Staff; Hatch, the designer; Kiewit, the contractor; and Parks Canada – are sitting around the table and discussing what the design will be.

“One of the things that did come up in those discussions was the desire to look at a more minimalist design for the bridge to help accentuate the natural beauty of the Rideau Canal, understanding that this new bridge is traversing this UNESCO World Heritage Site,” Patterson said in an interview after his address to the Chamber of Commerce.

“[We’ve been] looking at what we can do to make sure that the natural features surrounding the bridge are as evident as possible,” he said.

One of the things that developed from those conversation was the idea to scrap the over-arches that were prominent in some of the first design renderings, opting instead for under-arches. Instead of the arches protruding skyward so often associated with bridges, the third crossing will instead have “a series of under-arches,” Paterson explained.

“It’s still a very attractive design, but it, again, helps to highlight some of the more natural features surrounding the bridge,” he said.

And, while those arches will be constructed of steel, the actual mix of steel and concrete that will make up the entire bridge has also changed, Patterson said. While the third crossing will still involve a mix of steel and concrete in its construction, the designs have been altered to involve less steel – and therefore ensure the project comes in “on budget,” the Mayor explained.

“In the previous version there was steel and concrete, and so I think you could describe this new design as a little bit more concrete and a little less steel,” he said, noting that there were a number of different technical considerations that resulted in that change, not the least of which is the price of steel.

“Last year, there was the imposition of tariffs on steel, which did have the effect of making steel more expensive,” said Paterson.

“One of the things that I’ve consistently talk about with this bridge is the importance of making sure it comes in on time and on budget, and so this sort of a move helps to make sure that the bridge continues to stay within the envelope that we’ve talked about.”

With that in mind, Paterson underlined that these changes will not have a negative impact on the final price tag for the third crossing. And, while he said he would defer to staff on the technical data, the lifespan of the bridge will also not be negatively impacted by the changes.

“If anything, we’re really talking about increasing the lifespan,” he said of what he’s learned from the discussions that have taken place about the designs and technical considerations.

The other design features decided upon through community consultation, such as the pedestrian and bike lane, will remain, Paterson said, pointing out another new feature visible in the design rendering.

“One of the things you do see in the new design are these bump-outs along the bridge so you can get different points of view, different vistas to be able to take in the beauty of the canal itself,” he said of the public viewing areas in the latest design.

“That 21st century bridge with room for cyclists and pedestrians and the flow of cars is absolutely there, and, in my view, that sort of thing is non-negotiable.”

Paterson said that, while this latest design rendering is one step closer to the final design, it is simply the latest iteration of the design, and not precisely what Kingstonians will see when the bridge is fully constructed.

“Certainly there will be more updates to come. This is the latest update, but the target is to have the final design and all the other details by March,” said Paterson, noting that he thinks the bridge will become a focal point of the area, and possibly a new place for spectators to take in rowing, sailing and other water-based events locally.

And no, Kingstonians and tourists alike will not be destined to call the new bridge ‘the third crossing’ forever. Paterson explained that there is work planned for the future to look at naming the bridge, which will involve “public consultation and a conversation with the community.”

“Certainly by the time the bridge is finished, it will have a name,” Paterson said.

Updates and background information on the third crossing from the City of Kingston are available at https://thirdcrossing.cityofkingston.ca/.

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