With more than 70,000 users per day, the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge is one of the main links connecting the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa. Crossing the Outaouais River, this interprovincial Bridge is used by public transit customers and for the transportation of goods, among other purposes. It also supports one of the main highway access routes to downtown Ottawa.
The rehabilitation work on the Bridge primarily involved repairs to piers and abutments, improving the seismic resistance of the Bridge in accordance with the requirements of applicable codes and widening the existing roadways and sidewalks.
Traffic management and control posed a significant challenge. Traffic control during the construction had to take into account high demand during peak hours and the alternating traffic patterns: high demand toward Ottawa in the morning and toward Gatineau in the afternoon. In light of this, the design team opted for dynamic traffic control to provide an additional lane in the direction of higher demand.
Work sequencing had to take into consideration the challenges related to traffic control and safety, including maintaining entrance and exit ramps for users, securing access to the construction site, movement during the construction work and securing the work areas in view of the repairs to the exterior sides of the Bridge, among other factors. As a result, these points were the focus of particular attention during the design phase: precise locations of construction site access points and work areas identified on drawings, detailed information concerning ground markings and all temporary traffic signals, with detailed planning for each sign.