Third crossing project provides boost to local economy

This project was funded by local taxpayers, so it is important that this bridge is built with local contractors, and local materials says Sheer

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The long awaited Third Crossing Project is underway, and a temporary causeway is scheduled to be opened this month, says James Sheer, Manager for the Third Crossing project. The temporary causeway allows access for recreational boaters and provides a passage for animals within the local ecosystem.

The third crossing project has been in talks since 1967, when officials identified a need for a river crossing in the Pittsburgh Township. Talks were once again sparked following the amalgamation of the city 1998. After a number of contentious environment assessments for a new bridge Council finally endorsed the Third Crossing Environment Assessment in 2012.

In that time, the site was also designated as a place of Heritage value, due to the site being on the property of prominent individuals during the loyalist era.

The funding of the project is approximately $180M and was approved in 2015, with one third deriving from the City of Kingston, one third from the Government of Ontario and the final third from the federal government. The project has an actual expenditure of $45.8M thus far.

The Construction begun in Winter of 2019 and Sheer expects the undertaking to be completed by 2022. The City of Kingston has recently designated the project as an essential project and Sheer. The temporary bridge is now being installed and is 50% complete. The project as a whole 70% complete, according City Council documents from the City of Kingston.

While the project is still on track, there has still been some challenges. “The biggest challenge has been the winter, where it was required to break the ice with a large icebreaker before continuing with work. It was also challenging as sub-contractors had to deal with sub-zero temperatures.” Sheer said about the challenges faced.

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Navigating through the pandemic

The project has not been immune from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, in an inspection from the Ministry of Labour in April, no concerns were identified. In particular, the Ministry of Labour sought to ensure the Occupational Health and Safety Act were being complied with and that the appropriate social/physical distancing measures were being met.

When asked about the revelations surrounding covid-19, Sheer says that it hasn’t affected the initial design of the crossing. “[While social distancing is important] there is about three feet of walking space in the temporary bridge, so we don’t have any plans of making it wider at this point” Sheer takes his cues from other projects in Ottawa and around Ontario to determine the most appropriate design for the bridge.

Local sourcing

Sheer also discusses the materials used to build the bridge. About 8,000 truckloads of rocks amounting to 80,000 tonnes of rocks were used to create the temporary bridge. Sheer says that all of this is locally sourced and local contractors are used.

Local sourcing is important to Sheer. “Ultimately, this project was funded by local taxpayers, so it is important that this bridge is built with local contractors, and local materials.” Says Sheer.

The largest milestone to date is emerging for the project, which is the installation of the bridge piers. Bauer foundation Canada will be assisting with this aspect of the project, according to a report submitted to City Council. Local sub-contractors are important, mentions Sheer. He names the Mulrooney trucking company as an example of a local subcontractor that is used.

The installation of the foundation for the bridge piers will be the next major milestone of the overall project. Bauer Foundations Canada will be doing the work, which involves the use of large drilling equipment.

For more information about the bridge please visit the Third Crossing Project Website

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