Huntmar Bridge overpass

Why are there no sidewalks on the Huntmar overpass?

The Huntmar Bridge that crosses the Queensway doesn’t have sidewalks, and probably won’t for at least a decade.

The overpass connects Tanger Outlets, Minto’s new 1,500-home Arcadia development, and Canadian Tire Centre.  There are sidewalks south and north of the bridge, but the bridge itself only has a narrow curb on one side and a narrow paved shoulder on the other.

We asked the City of Ottawa why the bridge doesn’t have sidewalks, and they said to ask the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, who own and manage the bridge.

“The ministry will consider adding new sidewalks during the replacement of a bridge if requested by the municipality. We did not receive a formal request from the city during the consultation stage of detailed design to include a sidewalk,” said Brandy Duhaime, a spokesperson with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

Just because a municipality asks, doesn’t mean the MTO will necessarily make it happen. In the case of the Huntmar bridge, the current structure is too narrow for a sidewalk.

“The Huntmar Bridge was repaired and not replaced. The existing lanes on the bridge are already quite narrow and adding a sidewalk would not meet ministry standards,” she said.

The bridge underwent rehabilitation as part of the Queensway expansion and was closed for part of the summer.  According to Duhaime, this work included standard maintenance work such as patching, paving and curb repair.

Duhaime also said that bike lanes would also be considered if requested by the municipality.

We asked Ottawa city councillor Shad Qadri why there was no request made for sidewalks. He said the City has long-term plans to widen the road to four lanes, and decided to hold off on a formal request until then because of the cost involved in widening the bridge.  (According to the City’s transportation master plan, Huntmar is scheduled to be widened sometime between 2026-2031. Here’s a map.)

“At least OC Transpo now crosses the bridge and will take some pedestrians off the road,” said Qadri.

UPDATE (Oct 18): Kanata North councillor Marianne Wilkinson said she was in contact with the MTO about sidewalks: “I had asked MTO repeatedly to include a sidewalk on the Huntmar bridge but they said it couldn’t be accommodated.”


 

Would people actually use sidewalks if they were there?  Yes! The bridge is the shortest walking route from Tanger and Arcadia to Canadian Tire Centre, the OC Transpo Park and Ride facility, and points further south in Stittsville.  I’ve seen several walkers crossing the bridge over the last few weeks.

And yes, people really do walk to Senators games!  Before and after every Senators game and concert, dozens of residents and visitors walk to and from Fairwinds, just south of the arena, a distance of about 1km.

Pedestrian traffic is significant enough from Fairwinds that the City of Ottawa created a temporary paved sidewalk on the east side of Huntmar to provide a safer route.

It’s about a 30 minute walk from Fairwinds to Tanger Outlets, with sidewalks or paved pathways for the entire length except for the bridge over the Queensway.

The bridge will be completely closed to pedestrians after Senators games this season, so Sens fans living in Arcadia who were hoping to walk to the arena will have to find a new way to get home.  An Ottawa Police constable was suggesting Terry Fox as an alternate pedestrian route on Twitter yesterday.

 

Approaching the Huntmar Bridge overpass from the south, the narrow paved path ends just before the bridge.

Approaching the Huntmar Bridge overpass from the south, the narrow paved path ends just before the bridge.

Pedestrians have a narrow shoulder to walk in on the east side of the bridge.
Pedestrians have a narrow shoulder to walk in on the east side of the bridge.
On the west side of the bridge, there's a narrow curb less than a foot wide.
On the west side of the bridge, there’s a narrow curb less than a foot wide.

 


Do you live in Arcadia or Fairwinds?  Any plans to walk to Canadian Tire Centre or Tanger Outlets via the bridge?  Let us know about it in the comments below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


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2 thoughts on “Why are there no sidewalks on the Huntmar overpass?”

  1. It is important to remember that the over pass and any needed sidewalks are the responsibility of the Provincial Govt. Not Local City Govt. City Council as a whole, not a singular Councillor has to make requests for change to Toronto, Remember, your Councillor must work, not only for you, but on many matters……he must be a part of the total team that works for our good.

  2. More importantly, why is there still just a 4-way stop at Huntmar and Maple Grove? Traffic is ridiculous enough let alone adding an outlet mall.

    A roundabout would make more sense – that is if they teach people how to use them. (Hey Fairwinds residents….Yield means Yield. A person in the roundabout has the right of way over you – always).

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