On Tuesday night, Council passed a by-law which, according to the accompanying report, means they have to close the Queen Street Bridge over Highway 58 withing 90 days. And, once the City has closed the bridge, the MTO is supposed to come in and make the bridge safe for pedestrian and bicycle use only. There’s no definitive time limit for the MTO, of course, so no one knows how long that will take.
Those who have been following this know that this all started in 2012, when the MTO announced that they would be rebuilding the Pine street Bridge and closing the one on Queen Street. Since then, the City has been working with the MTO and then MPP Cindy Forster to try to save the bridge. But so far, the MTO is still saying that there isn’t enough traffic to warrant he expense of rebuilding it, especially with the Pine Street Bridge so close. They claim that, even with the expected increase in traffic from the new subdivision going in on the old Exelon property, there still won’t be enough traffic.
But they have agreed to save the bridge, at least for now, for foot and cycle traffic. According to Tuesday night’s report, the agreement is for ten years, at which time the MTO intends to tear it down. Unless the City wants to buy it for a buck and then it will be our responsibility (and cost) to maintain and rebuild when necessary.
But that’s still ten years down the road, and Councillors expressed hope that they might still pull the rabbit out of the hat and save the bridge before the time is up, as they haven’t yet finished working through our MPP’s office for a reprieve.