Chaudière Bridge

Coordinates: 45°25′16″N 75°43′7″W / 45.42111°N 75.71861°W / 45.42111; -75.71861

The Chaudière Bridge (French: Pont de la Chaudière) crosses the Ottawa River about 1 km (0.6 mi) west of Parliament Hill, joining the communities of Gatineau, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario, linking Rue Eddy in the Hull sector of Gatineau and Booth Street in Ottawa. The bridge is one portion of multiple spans called the Chaudiere Crossing, which passes from Ottawa to Hull.

The bridge passes through the E.B. Eddy complex adjacent to the Chaudière Falls, from which the bridge gets its name.

Union Bridge

A span of the Chaudière Bridge's earliest predecessor, the "Union Bridge" was the first bridge in the National Capital Region, having been completed January 11, 1827. (The stone span was their second attempt at that site, for the first one had collapsed the previous November.) The eight span Union bridge was completed in September 1828 under Colonel By's direction to link Wrightville (later renamed Hull) with the construction site of the Rideau Canal. While the main span was a wooden arch, masonry arches were also used for the smaller spans. Thomas McKay had been given contracts to construct two of its stone arches. One of Thomas Burrowes' first assignments during the construction of the Rideau Canal was to help plan and construct the Union Bridge. The bridge received its name to "symbolize the joining of the Provinces of Upper Canada and Lower Canada". The 212 foot wooden truss bridge collapsed on May 18, 1836. A ferry service was temporarily used until a new bridge was opened in 1843.

The Union Suspension Bridge, opened on September 17, 1843, was a 242 foot iron bridge built by Alexander Christie, (possibly September 17, 1844 and designed by Samuel Keefer) until 1889 when it was again rebuilt using steel truss construction. The current steel bridge was built by the Dominion Bridge Company in 1919.

Deteriorated condition

Several of the masonry arches dating from 1828 are still in use, just to the north of the current steel bridge. On December 3, 2008, Public Works and Government Services Canada closed the bridge for vehicular and pedestrian traffic after an inspection revealed deterioration in the masonry arches. It was closed immediately in both directions “until further notice.” The closure affected commuting across the Ottawa River, including OC Transpo bus routes 8, 88, and 105 which run across the bridge and stop in front of the government offices at Terrasses de la Chaudière. The bridge was partially re-opened one week later with weight restrictions and a reduced speed limit.

The bridge work went under review by the federal government and a decision to repair the bridge spans was made. Consultants used computer-simulations to model the stress and the condition of the arches. Ottawa historian John Taylor had proposed that the government use the opportunity to open up the area to views of the Falls.

In May 2009 the bridge was reopened after repairs to the concrete spans.