Ottawa

Voyageurs Pathway closure extended until fall

A large part of the Voyageurs Pathway will not open to the public until the fall due to repairs — which are taking longer than expected — to fix the damages caused by last spring's floods

Repair work will begin at the end of the summer, National Capital Commission says

The Voyageurs Trail was scheduled to reopen spring 2018. (Radio-Canada)

A large part of the Voyageurs Pathway will not open to the public until the fall due to repairs — which are taking longer than expected — to fix the damages caused by last spring's floods 

Repair work will begin at the end of the summer, according to the National Capital Commission, which manages the path.

The Voyageurs Pathway from the Portage Bridge to the Canadian Museum of History was expected to open in the spring this year after it endured severe shoreline erosion and infrastructure damage, stated the commission.

"The work in question is large and complex and requires the approval and co-operation of several entities; including permits for access to various lands as well as environmental assessments," said Dominique Leblanc, the commission's spokesperson. "The work can't start in the spring because the water levels are too high."

National Capital Commission trails are closed due to flood damage. (Estelle Côté-Sroka/Radio-Canada)

"We will rebuild the trail with higher standards to... mitigate future floods," she added.

Leblanc said unlike the trail behind Parliament Hill — which also closed as a result of flood damage and reopened to the public in November — the commission does not own all the land along the Voyageurs Pathway, which adds a level of complexity to the work planning.

Risks for cyclists

Bernard Hurteau, vice-president of Action vélo Outaouais, said he was looking forward to cycling along the Ottawa River on the Voyageurs Pathway in the spring. 

"I use it almost every day to return home. It's my almost daily route," he said.

Despite his disappointment about the delay, Hurteau said he is primarily concerned about the safety of cyclists who now must ride on Laurier Street to avoid the closure. 
Bernard Hurteau, vice-president of Action vélo Outaouais, said he was disappointed he wouldn't be able to ride his bike on the Voyageurs Trail until the fall. (Radio-Canada)

"The street is not big enough. There is no space for cyclists, especially... those who are less accustomed to going into traffic," he said. "[We end up seeing] them on the sidewalk."

This same concern is not felt at city hall.

Daniel Champagne, vice-president of the Commission on Transportation, Sustainable Travel and Security, said he takes cyclist safety seriously but believes the detour imposed by the closure does not pose a problem.

"Laurier Street is very well equipped in terms of bicycle network currently ... There is no reason to fear for the safety of cyclists in this sector," he said.

Radio-Canada