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No timeline provided for reopening of Kingston’s LaSalle Causeway as repairs continue – Kingston

The LaSalle Causeway in Kingston, Ont., remains closed until further notice as crews continue to work on repairing structural damage to the bridge.

But with the causeway inoperable, concerns are growing about the impact it has on traffic conditions at the city’s other two crossings over the Cataraqui River.

In an interview with Global News on Monday, Kingston’s mayor Bryan Paterson said he’s working to get more information about the closure.

“I’ll be speaking with the deputy minister of the federal ministry (that is) is overseeing the causeway later this week, hoping to learn more,” he said. “We’ll be emphasizing the impact this is having on pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and of course marine traffic.”

Work being done on the bridge is being done through a phased approach, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada. In an emailed statement, officials said that the first phase of work involves “strengthening various elements of the bridge”.  A second phase will involve repairing the damage suffered on part of the crossing.

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No timeline for the crossing’s reopening has been provided.

The bridge itself has been a staple in the city for over a hundred years. According to Neil Hoult, civil engineering professor at Queen’s University, corrosion and fatigue are areas of concerns when it comes to bridges as old as the causeway.

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“Much like your house, the first few years are fairly cheap in terms of maintenance, and then over time these things start to get a bit more expensive,” Hoult said.

It’s a sentiment that local political Gary Oosterhof shares.

“We want action on this causeway. I think the people expect that,” said the city councillor, who is also planning on running for the election as part of the Conservative Party of Canada. “We understand that this is an aging infrastructure. And that is something that’s probably been in the works for a while. So why would it take so long to respond to this?”

Oosterhof added that the causeway is well past its best before date.

Making their grievances known, the Conservative Electoral District Association for Kingston and the Islands went on to X to call for action in getting the causeway reopened.

Mark Gerretsen, the MP for Kingston and the Islands, noted that the federal government is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the causeway. He also said that there have been conversations over the years to get the city to taken ownership of the causeway instead.

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There are opportunities for long term solutions, he said, which could involve the causeway falling under city jurisdiction.

Gerretsen was a former councillor and mayor for the city of Kingston. In his tenure with the city, he was a part of the discussions surrounding the city’s push for another crossing to help alleviate traffic conditions on the LaSalle Causeway and Highway 401.

Dating all the way back to 2007 when, in an interview with Global News, he said that it was time to determine the feasibility of such a crossing.

By 2019, that crossing was being built. The Waaban Crossing was opened in 2022.

But the goal of alleviating traffic is under question with the LaSalle out of commission until repairs are completed.

— With files from Global’s Darryn Davis.

Click to play video: 'Lasalle Causeway remains closed as tourism and boating season approaches'

Lasalle Causeway remains closed as tourism and boating season approaches

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