Wedged between two rail corridors, Toronto's Liberty Village area has long suffered from a dearth of pedestrian and cycle connections over the tracks. A project set to alleviate some of the problem—and take strain off of unsafe road bottlenecks in the process—took a big step forward this weekend, as two bridge spans were installed for a new pedestrian and cycle connection over the Kitchener/Milton Rail Corridor, connecting Western Battery Road in Liberty Village with Douro Street in the King West Village neighbourhood.
The main steel bridge section was shipped as two spans, which had to be precisely matched while suspended by mobile cranes before being bolted together and lowered into place between the two concrete abutments. The careful operation involved the closure of the rail corridor by Metrolinx on Sunday from 2 AM to 8:30 AM. At a length of 55 metres, the bridge's conjoined spans measure roughly the height of a 15-storey apartment building if they stood vertically.
The bridge began construction back in November 2018, with shoring commencing the following month. Concrete piers were poured to support the bridge in early in 2019, and the surrounding concrete ramps and structures have been gradually taking shape in the months prior to Sunday night's operation. In the lead up to the bridge's installation, the two steel span sections were delivered to the site, and stood nearby awaiting the weekend assembly.
Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to access the bridge via staircases with bicycle slots and elevators on each side. The bridge will be clad in laminated, tinted, and bird-friendly glazing in a range of colours, while the glazing of the elevator towers will have public art incorporated into their design.
Once complete, residents of the Liberty Village and King West Village neighbourhoods will have a convenient new route over the Kitchener/Milton Rail Corridor, shortening access to businesses and transit on King Street, or alternatively providing a quicker route to Exhibition GO Station and Liberty Village businesses for those from the north.
Work is currently on schedule for the bridge to be open in Spring, 2020.
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