City Closes Commanda Bridge For Winter


The Commanda Bridge was not designed for winter pedestrian or cycling use.

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

M E M O / N O T E D E S E R V I C E 

To / Destinataire Mayor and Members of Council File/N° de fichier:  

From / Expéditeur General ManagerPublic Works  



General Manager, Recreation,  

Cultural, and Facility Services 

Subject / Objet Seasonal closure – Chief William  Commanda Bridge  

Date: November 21, 2023

The purpose of this memo is to advise Council of the seasonal closure of the Chief William  Commanda Bridge, starting today. 

The Chief William Commanda Bridge multi-use pathway opened this past summer, offering  pedestrians and cyclists scenic views and access to pathways throughout Gatineau and Ottawa. 

As noted previously, the Bridge was not designed for winter pedestrian or cycling use. Due to the  bridge’s steel structure and timber plank surface, the City is unable to safely undertake any  plowing, salting or grit operations. With the dropping temperatures and an early winter weather  event posing risks of ice accumulation on the bridge deck, the City is closing the structure today  and asking all residents to respect posted signage on site to please stay off the bridge for their  safety. 

First Big Winter Storm Expected Tuesday

The City continues to explore opportunities that will allow the bridge to be used safely during  winter months as a recreational facility (eg: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing.) The City does not  undertake the grooming of winter trails but does partner with community groups that have  expertise in this area. 

While these explorations continue, the City will also use this first year of operation to assess  winter use requirements and feasibility, and to better understand how the structure responds to  winter weather.  

If you have any questions regarding the closure, please contact Alain Gonthier by email at or by phone at 613-580-2424, ext. 21197.  

Should you have questions regarding the exploration of winter grooming and recreation, please  contact Dan Chenier by email at or by phone at 613-580-2424, ext.  24295. 

Original signed by,  

Alain Gonthier Dan Chenier 

General Manager General Manager  

Public Works Department Recreation, Cultural, and Facility Services Department 

cc: Senior Leadership Team 

Public Works Departmental Leadership Team  

Director, Infrastructure Services  

Chief Communications Officer, Public Information and Media Relations  

Manager, Corporate Communications 

Manager, Council and Committee Services



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1 Response

  1. The Voter says:

    One of the reasons for opening the bridge was to get people on both sides of the river out of their cars by shortening their commutes to work and school. With Bayview Station and the junction of the two LRT lines at the south end of the bridge, it gave people an easy link to transit. If that convenience is only available for part of the year, why would someone get rid of their car and, if it’s sitting in the driveway, how hard is it for them to slip back into using it all the time?

    It’s great to have a recreational trail across the river but wouldn’t it make sense to have a true multi-use operation there twelve months of the year? Is the bridge wide enough to sustain a pathway as well as snowshoe/cross-country ski tracks?

    We all know that Watson was opposed to these uses for the bridge. Is it possible that his hand was at work limiting the bridge’s usefulness in spite of the City’s policy goals which support multi-modal ways of getting around while reducing our carbon footprint?

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