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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Province begins RFP process for twinning of Garden City Skyway
The province has issued a request for proposals for the twinning of the Garden City Skyway. DAVE VAN DE LAAR
An artist's rendering of what a twinned Garden City Skyway could look like viewed from the Welland Canals Parkway in St. Catharines. DAVE VAN DE LAAR
Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa said more details are needed before the Town can assess impacts that may be felt once construction of a twin of the Garden City Skyway begins. DAVE VAN DE LAAR

The twinning of the Garden City Skyway has taken a step toward becoming reality after the province issued a request for proposals for the project.

In an announcement on April 5, Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sakaria said the twinning is necessary “to ensure our transportation infrastructure keeps pace” with the needs of a growing population in Ontario.

More than 106,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day, the province said.

“The new and expanded Garden City Skyway will be a game changer, meaning less congestion and faster travel for the people of St. Catharines and Niagara,” Sakaria said.

The request for proposals, or RFPs, are to be submitted by November of this year, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation said.

“The ministry and Infrastructure Ontario will then evaluate RFP submissions, which will be completed in spring 2025, for designs to then start,” said Tanta Blazina, a senior media relations officer for the transportation ministry, in an email to The Lake Report.

“Detailed design can take up to 18 to 24 months before construction begins,” she said.

It is expected that construction of the bridge will start in late 2026 or early 2027.

The work will mean disruptions to traffic and businesses in the south end of Niagara-on-the-Lake for the duration of the build.

The province did not say how long the project will take to complete but for comparison, the twinning of the Burlington Skyway on the Hamilton-Burlington border took two years — from 1983 to 1985.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa said it’s early in the process and details still need to be ironed out before seeing any potential impact the construction could have on the town.

“We have to kind of wait and see what the (Ministry of Transportation) and different transportation bodies do,” he said. “It’s going to be a massive piece of infrastructure.”

Five teams have been prequalified to bid on the project: AtkinsRealisMajor Products, Garden City Connectors (led by Aecon Infrastructure Management and Sacyr Canada Inc.), Garden City Link (led by Acciona Infrastructure Canada, Amico Major Projects and Pomerleau), Peter Kiewit Sons ULC and Skyway Bridging Partners (led by Dragados Canada, Construction Demathieu & Bard Techno and Green Infrastructure Partners).

The teams were selected based on criteria identified in the request for qualifications process that was issued in December 2022.

The project will include construction of a new 2.2-kilometre span, widening of the Queen Elizabeth Way approaches to the new bridge, realignment of local roads near the bridge, relocation of affected utilities and the construction of pier protections, retaining walls and stormwater management ponds.

Once the new bridge is complete, traffic from the existing bridge will be temporarily switched onto the new span to allow for rehabilitation — including a full deck replacement — of the existing Garden City Skyway.

That work will be completed as a separate project under its own contract.

St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe called the issuing of the RFP “an important step” to making the twinning of the bridge a reality.

“With the projected increase in population and jobs throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe in the coming years, this expansion will allow people and goods to flow more freely through Niagara,” he said.

Once complete, each bridge will feature four lanes, with the new bridge handling Toronto-bound traffic and the existing bridge accommodating Niagara-bound vehicles.

hutton@niagaranow.com

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