OTA Weighs-in on Downtown Ottawa Tunnel

A proposed truck tunnel in downtown Ottawa, linking the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge and Highway 417, is a positive development if the City and other levels of government can deal with issues surrounding project financing and the movement of dangerous goods.

That’s the view of OTA carrier members, based on a recent survey asking for industry reaction to the proposal. Although the membership was overall in favour of the ‘Cross Country’ option – deemed by the truck tunnel technical study to be the most feasible – carrier respondents had reservations about the ability of the tunnel to handle TDG movements and the application and levels of tolls.

The Cross Country alternative connects the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge with the Vanier Parkway interchange to Highway 417. It would run south-easterly under the neighbourhoods of Lowerton and Sand Hill and eventually crosses the Rideau River to connect with the Vanier Parkway.

“The Cross Country option is supported by our membership.” says OTA’s Jonathan Blackham, “But the membership believes that if the tunnel is to have the desired impact the City of Ottawa wants to achieve – namely, reducing the number of commercial vehicles in the downtown core – the City of Ottawa must examine ways to allow certain TDG products through the tunnel and find a way not to charge tolls. At the very least, it should find a financing option that does not deter truck traffic.”

OTA has written the mayor’s office to raise these issues and encourages the City of Ottawa to work with OTA. For a copy of the letter please see linked .pdf. 160902-Watson-Mayor-Ottawa-Downtown Truck Tunnel_public

Members interested in this issue should contact OTA at operations&safety@ontruck.org

If constructed, it is expected that up to 1,700 trucks per day could use the tunnel.

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