The official groundbreaking of the Rideau Canal Crossing, which is going to connect Clegg Street in Old Ottawa East to Fifth Avenue in the Glebe, took place Friday, with representatives from the city as well as the provincial and federal governments.

In a media release, the city said it hopes the crossing will improve connectivity between the two neighbourhoods by encouraging safe cycling and walking routes. The bridge should also "shorten commute times and offer a dedicated active and sustainable transportation route to schools, work, entertainment and shopping sites, such as Lansdowne in the Glebe," according to the release.

The bridge will help link pathways connecting to the City's O-Train Confederation Line at Hurdman and Lees transit stations, said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

fifth clegg pedestrian bridge design

Artist rendering of the footbridge that will span the Rideau Canal and connect Fifth Avenue with Clegg Street. (Support Fifth-Clegg Canal Footbridge Facebook group)

"With the new Rideau Canal Crossing, we are connecting communities and giving residents and visitors the freedom to explore the city, get active and save time getting around," said Watson in a media release.

Yasir Naqvi, MPP for Ottawa Centre and whose provincial Liberal government kicked in $5-million towards the project, said the announcement is great news for the community.

"The new Rideau Canal Crossing will bring together Old Ottawa East, the Glebe and Old Ottawa South.‎ It will provide a safe cycling and walking path for our residents, shorten commute times and offer a scenic and environmentally friendly addition to our city's active transportation network over the historic Rideau Canal," he said in the release.

The remainder of the bridge's $21-million price tag will be paid for by the City of Ottawa and the federal government. Last year the feds earmarked $10.5 million towards the bridge.

Construction is expected to be completed in two years.