A historic bridge that has inspired London artists and attracted tourists from all over Canada is open for crossing once again. The Blackfriars Bridge officially reopens to pedestrians, cyclists and eastbound motorists today, after a community event to celebrate the rehabilitation of the 143-year-old structure.
Built in 1875, the Blackfriars Bridge is recognized as a nationally-significant cultural heritage resource. It is a rare example of a wrought iron bowstring arch-truss bridge and the only one of its kind in Canada still used for vehicular traffic. It has been closed for construction since October 2017.
“The Blackfriars Bridge rehabilitation project is a great example of how the Government of Canada is ensuring that infrastructure remains safe and accessible for this generation and the next,” said Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre, on behalf of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne. “This historic, cultural landmark in the City of London will be preserved for the next 75 years, providing access to residents and visitors traveling by car, bicycle or on foot.”
The $8.6-million, 13-month rehabilitation project aimed to strengthen and rehabilitate the bridge. It was funded by the Government of Canada’s Federal Gas Tax Fund and Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, and the City of London
“Thanks to this reconstruction project, we can once again rely on Blackfriars Bridge to provide a safe and reliable way across the Thames River.” said the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation. “I am pleased to see this local fixture restored so that it can continue benefitting community members and local businesses by providing access to downtown.”
The bridge is expected to shorten travel times, as a gateway into London’s downtown for drivers heading east, as well as cyclists and pedestrians in surrounding neighbourhoods.
“For more than a century, the Blackfriars Bridge has been about connections and it has provided a vital link between London communities, helping local relationships and businesses thrive,” said Mayor Ed Holder. “Rehabilitating this landmark structure enables us to preserve London’s rich heritage for future generations.”
Adds Ward 13 Councillor Arielle Kayabaga, “We are happy to welcome this beloved bridge back to our community. We all take great pride in the history that has been preserved through the work on the bridge, and in the presence it has in the heart of our neighbourhood.”
Blackfriars Bridge – How it works:
- One-way, single file traffic lane to be used by eastbound motorists and cyclists
- Dedicated westbound bike lane
- Wooden sidewalk for pedestrians
- Pedestrian crossover for the Thames Valley Parkway on the east side
Final landscaping and paint touch-ups are scheduled to be completed in spring 2019.
For more information about the Blackfriars Bridge rehabilitation project, visit blackfriarsbridge.ca.