The Return of the Fort York Pedestrian-Cycling Bridge?
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The Return of the Fort York Pedestrian-Cycling Bridge?

Months after it was unceremoniously killed by council, the Public Works committee is now considering revised proposals for a bridge spanning Fort York.

Top: original design for the Fort York bridge. Bottom: one of the new configurations being considered.

Though it wasn’t originally on the agenda for today’s meeting, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee will be considering whether to revive plans for the once-planned Fort York bridge—plans that were killed without notice earlier this year. The proposals being examined today are for some cheaper alternatives, ones that would bring the cost of the bridge down, say staff estimates, by anywhere from six to eight million, depending on which design the committee opts for.

Fort York is in Councillor Mike Layton’s ward (Trinity-Spadina), and of the alternatives up for consideration [PDF] he prefers the third, which “includes two bridges, with one bridge linking Wellington Street south to the Ordnance Street area and a second bridge spanning from Fort York north to the Ordnance Street area. Both spans would be linked by a park and would be fully accessible from Ordnance Street. This option has better access, use of space and most reflects the original design.”

So, where are the savings coming from? The Globe notes that all of the new alternative designs are for bridges that are much shorter than the original, and the Post is reporting that the smaller price tag may be because a berm (a constructed mound of earth) would be used as a support instead of a pier.

Another major difference from the original plans: this bridge, whatever its configuration, won’t be built to coincide with Fort York’s bicentennial celebrations of the War of 1812 next year, and won’t be able to take advantage of a construction window afforded by Metrolinx, which manages the rail lines over which the bridge will span. Still, bridge is better than no bridge, and we’re glad to see that this one may have some sort of future after all.