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Belleville council gets a look at plans to expand bridge across the Bay of Quinte

NorrisWhitneyBridge

The Norris Whitney Bridge [1], named for 20-year Prince Edward-Lennox MPP Norris Whitney, was officially opened [2] in December 1982. It links Belleville with Prince Edward County. Photo courtesy of WSP

By Dariya Baiguzhiyeva [3]

BELLEVILLE – A second bridge over the Bay of Quinte may be coming to Belleville.

On Monday, city council received a preliminary plan [4] for rehabilitating the Norris Whitney Bridge [5] (also known as the Bay Bridge), which runs from Zwick’s Island Park in Belleville to Rossmore in Prince Edward County.

Glenn Higgins, a project manager with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, and Neil Ahmed, a consultant project manager with the large Canadian consulting firm WSP [6], told councillors that the options for the 65-year-old bridge are to widen, twin or replace it to increase traffic capacity.

Map by Bradley Bennett, QNet News

Building a twin bridge is the preferred option, Ahmed said, explaining that this option would mean the existing bridge, which he said has “lots of life left in it,” would continue to be used.

“We could use (the existing bridge) as two lanes going in one direction and (build) two new lanes on the separate bridge either to the east or the west of the existing bridge,” he said. “We think this is the best choice.”

Councillors asked how pedestrians and cyclists would be accommodated on the new bridge. Ahmed and Higgins replied that there would be wider cycling and pedestrian lanes.

The public is invited to an information session about the bridge plan, as well as plans to widen Highway 401 in the Belleville area, Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m at the Banquet Centre on Alhambra Square. A second public meeting will be held next summer.

“From there we will be going through our analysis and evaluation, trying to pick a winner,” Ahmed said.