Province to foot bill for active transportation bridge in Cambridge

Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry announced the province's new cycling strategy and plans for the Franklin Boulevard bridge over Highway 401 on Monday morning.

Ontario will pay for active transportation portion of bridge replacements and upgrades

The Franklin Boulevard bridge over Highway 401 will be reinstalled with active transportation pathways for pedestrians as well as cyclists — and the province is picking up the tab. (Google StreetView)

The Franklin Boulevard bridge over Highway 401 will be reinstalled with active transportation pathways for pedestrians as well as cyclists — and the province is picking up the tab.

Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry announced the province's second cycling strategy plan, #CycleON Action Plan 2.0, on Monday morning in conjunction with updates about the bridge.

She said the bridge is coming down to accommodate the six to 10-lane expansion of Highway 401 between Hespeler and Townline Roads, and the province will be paying for the inclusion of active transportation routes on the bridge.

"Moving forward, our bridges that are identified on the provincial network strategy for the Province of Ontario, when that bridge is replaced or upgraded, it will be the province that pays for the active transportation routes over bridges," she said.

Previously, the money would have had to come out of the municipalities' coffers.

"We certainly made the City of Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo smile when they got news for that," McGarry said.

Promoting safer cycling

Part of Ontario's plan is to build a provincial cycling network with over 9,800 kilometres of cycling routes. Municipalities also have $94 million available to them this year to support commuter cycling infrastructure through the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling program.

"This is all about encouraging people to adopt a healthier and active lifestyle, taking more cars off the road and creating livable cities," said Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig in a media release.

Another part of the province's plan is to become a prime destination for cycling tourism. An example is the Cambridge Tour de Grand that happens annually.

Thousands of cyclists come to Cambridge for the summer event with a number of trails and routes available for cyclists at all levels.

"As we build out more and more infrastructure that's safe for cycling, the Tour de Grand will have more options as to where to send their cyclists depending on the length of the ride," McGarry said.