Kingston’s Third Crossing, now dubbed the Waaban Crossing, is officially open for vehicular traffic.
The $180-million bridge, which crosses the expanse of the Cataraqui River and joins Kingston’s east end to the rest of the city via a third major route, was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. The event was attended by Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands; Ted Hsu, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands; Bryan Paterson, Mayor, City of Kingston; Mark Mallet, Vice President Ontario Area Manager of Peter Kiewit Sons ULC; Philip Murray, Global Director of Hatch; and Mark Van Buren, Project Director with the City of Kingston, among other dignitaries.
While Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, was also expected to attend the event, officials with the City of Kingston confirmed he would not be attending as an “unwelcoming committee” rallied at Kingston East Community Centre to demand Clark return to Toronto and repeal Bill 23. According to the City of Kingston, despite Development Charges making up a large proportion of funding for the third crossing — approximately $10 million of which remains to be collected — Bill 23 will not impact the City’s ability to collect those monies.
MP Mark Gerretsen, addressing those in attendance for a ceremony prior to the official opening of the bridge, said that the Third Crossing project remained “on time and on budget.”
The bridge was previously temporarily opened for a preview event on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, where the public was invited to walk, ride, or roll across the new bridge ahead of the official opening.
Construction of the bridge began in 2019 and, having been classified an “essential infrastructure project” by the Province, has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a charity auction to raise funds for the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, McCoy Bus Service won the opportunity to be the first motorized vehicle to cross the new bridge after the ribbon cutting ceremony. The company placed its winning bid of $5010 seconds before the auction ended on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.
“We’re all very excited about the new Waaban crossing finally opening to the public. When I saw that the city had partnered with the United Way to auction off the first crossings, it was a no-brainer to put a bid in. For nearly 30 years my company has been a proud community partner and supporter of the United Way,” said Shawn Geary, Owner & President of McCoy Bus Service & Getaways.
McCoy drove a 56 passenger motor coach across the new bridge, a move the company said was a nod to sustainable transportation practices. “This is such an appropriate vehicle as motor coach transportation is the most environmentally friendly form of passenger transportation, removing as many as 50 cars from the road with every trip,” the company said. “It demonstrates the future of environmental responsibility and symbolizes our city’s commitment to a cleaner climate future.”