Stop the Bridge!
The federal government's plan to build a $2 billion dollar bridge to connect Québec trucking companies to the 417 is progressing quietly, with little publicity, lots of secrecy and an intentional lack of transparency. The government's own studies indicate it will not reduce truck traffic downtown on King Edward, supposedly the problem the bridge is supposed to solve.
Of concern to those of us in Orléans, 2 of the 3 proposed routes cut through our community. The other route, which takes Quebec truck traffic directly to the 417, has been stalled time and time again because the community it would run through has fought hard, we need to do the same!
If the bridge comes to Orléans, we will be able to enjoy such benefits as:
An extra 30+ minutes for commuting downtown...per direction as the increased heavy truck traffic overwhelms the 174 and the "split". Sure makes those 2-3 days a week of "hybrid" work downtown at the office extra sweet! That's after it is constructed too...imagine this project's construction starting right after the LRT construction, perpetual lane reductions, 80kmh speed limit, etc. on the 174!!!
The destruction of the Eastern Greenbelt and Orléans' beautiful riverfront, the environment, the nature trails, biking paths, etc.! The National Capital Commission (NCC) is supposed to protect the Greenbelt, instead they are actively planning a bridge project that goes against their own Greenbelt Master Plan which has four main goals: Natural Environment; Sustainable Agriculture; Capital Experiences; and Recreation and Facilities.
Decreased real estate values in all of Orléans due to the traffic impacts and because those working downtown could buy cheaper houses in eastern Gatineau instead, across from Orléans. Due to the bridge induced traffic jams on the 174, they'll even have a faster commute to downtown than we will as they will get on the 174 after Jeanne d'Arc!
Increased federal debt just as debt carrying costs are soaring and the government is far in the red. Also, does anyone truly believe any government project that they say costs $2B actually ends up anywhere near that, especially in these mega inflation times?
What is happening?
A massive 6 lane bridge and highway from Québec to Orléans is to be built. Pre-construction work has already started and the government has hired a team responsible for managing the construction contracts.
It will connect a large volume of primarily heavy diesel fume belching truck traffic from Québec to the 417 via Orléans/174. This will cause traffic chaos along the 174 and especially at "the split" during commutes to/from Orléans and downtown.
There are two proposed routes for Orléans, either at the riverfront north of the Convent Glen area of Orléans (Fairwinds Drive area) or at the Ottawa river lookout west of there. Either way, damaging the currently beautiful and peaceful NCC walking and cycling paths. This will bring tremendous impact to the environment, the view, and add tons of noise and air pollution.
For either route, the connection for this bridge to the 174 will be in the Greenbelt seperating Orléans from the rest of Ottawa (i.e. the corn fields you currently drive by between Jeanne D'Arc and the Montreal Road interchange). This will forever remove this natural environment.
Why is this happening?
Québec wants businesses in Gatineau to have more crossings to Ontario to facilitate their access to highway 417, not to connect them to Ottawa itself.
Downtown residents of Ottawa want less truck traffic coming from Québec in the downtown core, especially on King Edward.
The federal government's own studies, though, show that a bridge in the eastern part of Ottawa will not have a significant impact on the downtown truck traffic problems, so they know this bridge won't solve it. Most trucks will continue to go straight through downtown to get to the 417 versus a massive detour driving east, crossing the river and then driving back west to get to the 417. In a world of climate change concerns, why we'd even want to promote trucks driving long distances for no reason is a mystery. If it were to be used, the extra fuel costs would also be passed on to consumers.
The federal government's own analysis showed that a location further west, connecting Québec to the 417 via a bridge north of the Aviation Parkway, would be significantly more beneficial. However, residents there, including affluent Rockcliffe Park, fought back hard. Now the plan is to come for Orléans instead, hoping that no one here will notice until it is too late. Some of these Rockcliffe Park residents are even in positions of power within the government, on this project specifically, and will determine where the bridge will go...
Ontario and the City of Ottawa have both come out against this bridge saying it is not necessary, not wanted and is a waste of money. The current federal government, though, doesn't seem to care about what Ontario or Ottawa wants.
Why isn't the federal government backing away from spending $2 billion on something that won't work? Bridge construction jobs for Québec companies = votes in Québec.
What can you do about it?
Get informed by reading our site, follow this topic in the news and share links to this site on your social media accounts to make other people aware! Talk to your neighbours about it!
Make it clear to our Federal MP, Marie-France Lalonde (Liberal for Orléans), that you do NOT support this bridge coming to Orléans and that come the next election, if they go ahead with this, they will not be able to count on the support of Orléans and that we will remember which federal political party ruined our area! Contact Marie-France Lalonde
This also impacts commute times for Clarence-Rockland...if you're from there, you should contact your Federal MP, Francis Drouin (Liberal for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell). Contact Francis Drouin
You can also let the National Capital Commission (NCC) know of your displeasure by contacting them. This whole thing is supported and pushed hard by them even though they are supposed to be stewards of the Greenbelt and the environment. Ask them for a copy of their full report on the Interprovincial Bridge plan, decision timelines and scheduled public consultations. They've refused to release all of the information to date, more people asking puts more pressure on them!
The department of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is the one responsible for actually getting the bridge built so reach out to the Minister of PSPC (Jean-Yves Duclos) and let him know what you think. You can also read the mandate letter (2021 to Minister Tassi) from the Prime Minister giving direction to prioritize building this bridge.
Let Steven Guilbeault, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, know how contradictory his party's positions are, do they want to protect the environment or pave over Green's Creek and the riverfront?
Stay up to date on our web site as well as those of other groups against this bridge!
Community Group site: www.conventglenorleanswood.com/interprovincial-crossing
Stop the bridge coalition: https://stopthebridge.ca
And finally, contact us if you want to help! We want to organize opposition to the construction of this bridge. We want to get the message out to all of Orléans ASAP. This means flyers, signage and social media campaigns, as well as contacting municipal, provincial and federal leaders to make our voices heard.