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New bridge is great, users say — but Gatineau side's layout is not

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

OTTAWA —The recently inaugurated Chief William Commanda Bridge, linking Ottawa and Gatineau, Quebec, has garnered widespread acclaim for its expansive pedestrian-friendly former rail crossing across the Ottawa River. The bridge has attracted numerous first-time visitors who have been quick to laud its design and impressive views. However, as the initial excitement settles, attention is now turning to certain challenges arising from the layout on the Gatineau side.

Residents and Mayor Mark Sutcliffe have been vocal in their admiration for the Chief William Commanda Bridge, highlighting its contribution to connectivity and tourism between the two cities. The bridge's spacious pedestrian pathway and stunning vantage points have made it an instant favorite among users.

Nevertheless, concerns have emerged regarding the T-junction on the Gatineau side of the bridge. Cyclists and pedestrians exiting the bridge have faced congestion and potential safety hazards due to a lack of adequate signage and traffic management. Cyclists have recommended installing additional signs and a three-way stop to enhance traffic flow and improve safety conditions. Despite these issues, users remain optimistic about the bridge's potential, eagerly awaiting improvements to address the present challenges.

A specific issue noted by users is the faded red stop signs along the pathway, which require attention from the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission. Both entities are expected to collaborate to rectify the signage situation soon. Additionally, the narrow bike path on the Gatineau side poses difficulties for cyclists, prompting suggestions for enhanced safety measures to be implemented.

The Chief William Commanda Bridge is characterized by its unique composition, consisting of two distinct sections separated by visible remnants of the old railbed. This design element pays homage to the bridge's historical context while offering a modern and efficient crossing for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Despite the current challenges, the overall sentiment among users remains positive. The bridge has become a symbol of connectivity, offering picturesque views and a convenient pathway between Ottawa and Gatineau. The issues identified on the Gatineau side are expected to be addressed promptly, reflecting the commitment of local authorities to provide a seamless and safe experience for all users.