O'Connor Street bike lane set to open Thursday

The O'Connor Street bike lane will open to cyclists on Thursday night, according to the city.

Official opening to take place Oct. 25

Pylons block the O'Connor Street bike lane in downtown Ottawa on Oct. 1, 2016. The lane is due to open Thursday, with the official opening ceremony set for Oct. 25, 2016. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

The O'Connor Street bike lane will open to cyclists on Thursday, according to the City of Ottawa. 

The new lane stretches 1.7 kilometres from Laurier Avenue downtown to Fifth Avenue in the Glebe.

From Laurier to the Queensway, it's a bidirectional segregated bike lane running along the east side of the street. In the Glebe it's a combination of painted and segregated lanes.

The lane provides a new north-south route for cyclists, and will eventually link Parliament Hill to Lansdowne Park.

Ottawa city council approved the project with a budget of $2.8-million in June 2015, and it was completed one month ahead of schedule, according to Mayor Jim Watson.

Some cyclists have been asking why the lane, which has appeared ready for weeks but has been blocked by pylons, wasn't opened sooner, especially with colder weather on the way.

"I went out and looked at it twice last week because I had similar questions," said Jon Manconi, the city's general manager of transportation services on Wednesday. "It did look finished, but the devil's in the detail."

Those details included finishing touches to signage, Manconi said.

"The last thing you want to do is open up a bike lane, which we've invested in significantly, and you have an accident because we missed a sign or something like that and we have a tragedy. Safety trumps everything," he said.

The official opening ceremony is planned for Oct. 25 at 1:30 p.m.

A second phase of the project, from Wellington Street to Laurier Avenue, is scheduled to begin once construction on the Confederation Line is complete in 2018.