Ottawa – Ottawa’s reputation as a walking- and cycling-friendly city got another boost today with the start of construction on a new pedestrian and cycling bridge. Spanning the Rideau River, the new link will connect Donald Street in the east with Strathcona Park and Somerset Street in the west. Mayor Jim Watson was joined by Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of City Council’s Transportation Committee, as well as Councillors Mathieu Fleury and Peter Clark to break ground on the project.

“Every resident in every corner of the city is starting to see the results of Ottawa on the Move,” said Mayor Watson. “This bridge will connect neighbourhoods, enrich communities on both sides of the Rideau River and provide more options for residents and their families to move about in our growing city.”

The bridge will connect the neighbourhoods of Overbrook and Vanier with Sandy Hill and the University of Ottawa. The bridge will cut down commuting time for cyclists and pedestrians, creating better access to existing multi-use paths and the nearby services and businesses in adjoining neighbourhoods.

“When this bridge is completed in the summer of 2016, it will establish stronger ties between communities and a safer connection to the University of Ottawa and the downtown core,” said Chair Egli. “It will also serve to unite existing parks along Rideau River’s eastern and western shores, giving families easy access to greater green space in the heart of the city.”

For cyclists, this bridge will establish a more comfortable and convenient link to downtown pathways along the Rideau Canal and the Western Parkway as well as the East-West Bikeway. It will also provide a considerably easier route for westbound cyclists who currently contend with a challenging uphill ride across the busy Cummings Bridge on Montreal Road.

With a budget of $9.2 million, the Somerset-Donald Street Bridge is an Ottawa on the Move project. Ottawa on the Move is about keeping our community and economy moving forward through strategic investments in a number of transportation, water, and sewer projects to build a better city and create jobs.