Plans are being floated to ensure the multi-year construction of a $200-million waterfront development doesn't keep visitors from strolling along Halifax's renowned harbour.
Waterfront Development Halifax has issued a request for quotes to build a temporary bridge connecting the Cable Wharf and the wharf in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic during the construction of Queen's Marque.
The luxury condo, commercial and hotel project will transform the city's waterfront over the next three years. During that time, there will be no public access to the existing area in front of the two-hectare site.
The temporary bridge would involve a series of 13 large, commercial-grade floating docks, each three by 12 metres. There would be accessible gangways on each side leading down to a temporary wharf and safety railings.
"The intent is to continue the look, feel and comfort of walking along the existing boardwalk," said Adam Langley, director of operations for Waterfront Development Halifax.
Bridge will be repurposed
The provincial government has approved $1.8 million in capital funding to help pay for the temporary bridge, as well as site preparation, remediation and enhancing public spaces. In all, the government has committed $6.5 million as part of the oceanside project.
Langley said the bridge should be in place May 1. The seasonal structure will be removed in the fall, likely in October, and redeployed in the spring as long as it's required.
"What's really cool about the floating boardwalk and its construction is the floating docks will be repurposed throughout our properties in Halifax and in Dartmouth," said Langley.
"That's the exciting part about it — it solves a short-term problem and also creates a longer-term opportunity to support our marine infrastructure."
Construction of Queen's Marque is expected to be completed in 2019.
Halifax waterfront saw 2.7M visitors in 2016
With about 2.7 million visitors to the Halifax boardwalk last year, Langley said it's important to retain access to the waterfront during the construction.
"It's a busy place and that's why it's important to take theses necessary steps to ensure it's visited even more," said Langley.
"I think it'll be as much an interesting piece of infrastructure to keep the waterfront continuity in place, but I think it'll actually become a destination to walk along this cool floating boardwalk."
With the risk of the occasional hurricane or major storm, Langley said the bridge will be able to be easily moved, if necessary.
"We'd have to take the same precautions and preparations we do for any type of storm that would impact the waterfront where anything that would be vulnerable to storm surge or waves or wind," he said.
"The nice thing is that it is mobile, we might have to reconfigure it, move it. But that's something we do with existing floating docks and other marine assets that are along the waterfront."