Commissioners Street Bridge Arrives in Port Lands by Barge

Six months after the arrival of the first in a series of strikingly designed new bridges for Toronto’s Port Lands, the second of them has been delivered. A part of WaterfrontToronto’s Port Lands Flood Protection project, the Commissioners Street Bridge will reconnect two ends of that street, currently severed while a new river valley is carved through the Port Lands. 

Commissioners Street Bridge, Waterfront Toronto, Port LandsBridge making the transit through Ship Channel, image via @TheRockRipper/Twitter

Like the Cherry Street North Bridge that arrived last fall, the Commissioners Bridge is designed by Entuitive, London-based Grimshaw Architects, and SBP. Unlike the Cherry bridge which spans the concrete-lined Keating Channel, the Commissioners Street Bridge will cross the new naturalized Don River Valley before the waterway curves west and terminates in a naturalized mouth, part of the wider Port Lands Flood Protection project. 

Commissioners Street Bridge, Waterfront Toronto, Port LandsCommissioners Street Bridge, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

The initial sections of the valley are now being excavated to the south and west of the bridge’s future location, indicated in pink, below.

Commissioners Street Bridge, Waterfront Toronto, Port LandsSite of the new bridge, image via Waterfront Toronto

Being the longest in the group of four matching bridges for the Port Lands, the Commissioners bridge is being delivered in two spans. It was the western span that arrived this week, sent via barge from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia down the St. Lawrence Seaway, and arriving in the Port Lands via the Ship Channel. Anticipation had been building since the bridge departed Nova Scotia on May 4th, with Waterfront Toronto holding a contest to guess the bridge’s arrival time in Toronto.

Commissioners Street Bridge, Waterfront Toronto, Port LandsBridge making the transit through Ship Channel, image via @TheRockRipper/Twitter

This half of the bridge weighs 650 tonnes and measures 83 metres in length, and will be connected with the future east span for a full length of 152 metres.

Commissioners Street Bridge, Waterfront Toronto, Port LandsWestern span of Commissioners Street Bridge, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

First, the western span must be moved into position. While the Cherry North bridge was able to be floated to its final location upon delivery, the river valley that the new Commissioners Bridge will span does not yet exist. The final 350 to 400 metres of this journey will be an overland trip, and crews have already prepped a temporary haul road leading from the Ship Channel to the bridge’s final location.

Commissioners Street Bridge, Waterfront Toronto, Port LandsOverland haul road, image via @TheRockRipper/Twitter

A video recently released by Waterfront Toronto illustrates the full construction timeline for the Port Lands Flood Protection project. The current phase of work is highlighted at around the 2:40 mark of the video, which shows that both bridge spans are expected to be in place before the section of the river valley below is excavated.

Meanwhile, the next steps are already in motion, with bridge foundations being installed to support the new structure.

Commissioners Street Bridge, Waterfront Toronto, Port LandsBridge foundations, image via @TheRockRipper/Twitter

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