Rideau Street partially reopens to traffic nearly 3 weeks after sinkhole

Nearly three weeks after a massive sinkhole opened up in downtown Ottawa, some roads are being reopened.

City plans to open up more of Rideau Street for leaders' summit, Canada Day celebrations

Drivers can once again turn from eastbound Rideau Street onto northbound Sussex Drive to reach the ByWard Market, Lowertown and the Macdonald-Cartier and Alexandra bridges. It's the first time this corner has been opened since the Rideau Street sinkhole opened up on June 8. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Rideau Street has partially reopened to traffic nearly three weeks after a massive sinkhole formed in downtown Ottawa.

Drivers can now take previously closed sections of Elgin Street north to Rideau Street, Rideau Street eastbound to Sussex Drive and Sussex Drive northbound toward the ByWard Market, Lowertown and Macdonald-Cartier Bridge.

Still closed are Rideau Street from Sussex Drive to Dalhousie Street, southbound Sussex Drive from George Street to Rideau Street and Colonel By Drive from Daly Avenue to Rideau Street.

On Sunday the city announced it hopes to open more of the street for vehicles chauffeuring dignitaries attending North American Leaders' Summit on Wednesday, and for pedestrians during Canada Day celebrations on Friday.

 Buses and taxis will likely return to Rideau Street on Saturday, though Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury said on a normal week without those special events it likely could have happened sooner.

"We don't want to create user confusion, we don't want for one day to go back onto Rideau and have to go back to [the detour on the Mackenzie King] bridge on the Wednesday and so on," he said Monday morning.

"There's still some safety checks that need to happen before we do an official opening so we're waiting on those engineering stamps." 

The city said in a memo Sunday that most sidewalks have reopened to pedestrians on Rideau Street, all properties now have permission to reopen, utility repairs are nearly finished, water main replacements are done, and the reinstatement of permanent water main connections is underway.

Fleury said the next goal is to reopen more of the crosswalks at the intersection of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive, which should happen Tuesday or Wednesday.

He said the still-closed sections of Sussex and Colonel By drives are partly because of some significant work that needs to be done by Bell to fix some of their infrastructure, and that could keep Colonel By Drive closed in the area for a few more weeks.

What has reopened

  • Motorists and cyclists are now able to resume travelling east on Rideau Street and turning left onto northbound Sussex Drive.
  • Elgin Street northbound has reopened from Albert to Rideau streets.
  • Wellington Street eastbound has reopened from Elgin to Rideau streets.

What is staying closed for now

  • Southbound Sussex Drive, from George to Rideau streets, remains closed to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Colonel By Drive remains closed northbound, from Daly Avenue to Rideau Street, to motorists and cyclists, but open to pedestrians.
  • Rideau Street, between Sussex Drive and Waller Street, remains closed.

Reopening plans for leaders' summit, Canada Day

  • The city hopes to open Rideau Street to visiting dignitaries during the North American Leader's Summit on Wednesday.
  • The city also hopes to open Rideau Street to pedestrians on Friday for Canada Day.
  • The city expects to reopen Rideau Street for OC Transpo buses and taxis on Saturday, July 2.