Feds fund Fifth-Clegg footbridge as part of $155.9 million announcement

Ottawa South rejoice: the Fifth and Clegg footbridge has been funded at last.

The federal government announced Tuesday it will contribute $10.5 million in funding for the pedestrian and cycling connection over the Rideau Canal, which the city has been pushing for more than five years.

The bridge connecting Fifth Avenue in the Glebe and Clegg Street in Old Ottawa East has been on the city’s cycling and pedestrian plans since 2008, and council approved funding for detailed design work in 2013.

Officially, the transportation master plan says the Fifth-Clegg bridge should be built between 2020 and 2024. But staff have been pushing to move that up – reserve funds for the Prince of Wales bridge were transferred to the Fifth-Clegg file last year – and with federal and provincial dollars secured shovels could be in the ground by next fall.

Catherine McKenna made funding for the $17-million bridge a major part of her campaign during last fall’s federal election.

It's considered a vital link, particularly for cyclists who must go out of their way to use the Pretoria or Bank Street crossings. The Bank Street bridge is particularly notorious for its lack of safe cycling infrastructure.

That crossing is also getting some dough as part of the federal Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. The feds have promised $1.025 million for a pedestrian and cycling crossing over the Rideau River near Billings Bridge. 

Other goodies in the $155.9 million coming Ottawa's way includes money for OC Transpo upgrades, multi-use pathways and sidewalk connections.

This article originally appeared on metronews.ca on August 23.