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Chief William Commanda Bridge set to reopen as weather warms up

Cyclists and geese enjoy the Chief William Commanda Bridge's multi-use pathway last August. The bridge was shut down during the winter, but the City of Ottawa says it's slated to reopen — potentially by early next week. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Cyclists and geese enjoy the Chief William Commanda Bridge's multi-use pathway last August. The bridge was shut down during the winter, but the City of Ottawa says it's slated to reopen — potentially by early next week. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)
  • UPDATE | The bridge opened March 25, according to a follow-up city memo.

After a four-month winter closure, the Chief William Commanda Bridge across the Ottawa River could reopen early next week.

The multi-use bridge connects pathways near Bayview station in Ottawa and the southern tip of Gatineau Park, and also fills a roughly four-kilometre gap in river crossings between the Portage and Champlain bridges.

It opened for the first time for pedestrians and cyclists last August, after Ottawa city council voted in 2021 to rehabilitate the former train crossing.

In a memo Wednesday, city staff said they're anticipating the reopening of the bridge early next week, depending on the weather.

The bridge closed for the winter in November, with staff saying it wasn't designed for winter use and the structure "does not allow for safe plowing, salting or grit operations."

According to the memo, staff were planning to assess over the winter whether winter activities like cross-country skiing would be possible on the bridge.

But due to low snowfall and higher than average temperatures, they couldn't to do that.

"Staff will continue to explore the potential for winter use of the bridge," the memo reads.

The city is asking residents to respect the barriers and, for safety reasons, to not use the bridge until it's officially reopened.

A sign announcing that the Chief William Commanda Bridge is not being maintained.
A sign announcing that the Chief William Commanda Bridge is not being maintained.

A sign announcing that the Chief William Commanda Bridge is not being maintained during the winter season. (Jean Delisle/CBC)