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Kingston's LaSalle Causeway expected to remain closed for 'several weeks'

The LaSalle Causeway in Kingston, Ont., is closed until further notice, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada.            (Dan Taekema/CBC - image credit)
The LaSalle Causeway in Kingston, Ont., is closed until further notice, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada. (Dan Taekema/CBC - image credit)

UPDATE | On April 12, 2024, the City of Kingston issued an update confirming that the LaSalle Causeway will not reopen in time for the marine season, which usually begins May 1. 

A key crossing in Kingston is expected to remain closed to all forms of traffic including pedestrians and cyclists for several weeks after part of it was damaged during construction.

The LaSalle Causeway opened more than a century ago and connects downtown Kingston with its eastern suburbs. Part of it is a Bascule bridge, which uses a counterweight to let boats through.

In an update on Thursday, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) said a steel truss that supports the counterweight was damaged on March 30, while work was underway to strengthen it.

While a complete assessment of the damage still needs to be carried out, "preliminary indications are that the LaSalle Causeway will be closed for several weeks," PSPC said.

No one was injured as a result of the incident, according to PSPC.

The LaSalle Causeway opened in 1917 and has been undergoing rehabilitation work in recent weeks. This photos shows the bridge on April 2, 2024.
The LaSalle Causeway opened in 1917 and has been undergoing rehabilitation work in recent weeks. This photos shows the bridge on April 2, 2024.

The LaSalle Causeway opened in 1917 and has been undergoing rehabilitation work in recent weeks. This photos shows the bridge on April 2. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Traffic barriers and signs warning of the closure are in place, but a string of vehicles drove past them earlier this week, only to turn around when they encountered the pylons.

All traffic including emergency vehicles should use the Waaban Crossing instead, according to PSPC.

The causeway opened in 1917 and has recently been undergoing rehabilitation work. The bridge had been limited to one lane in recent weeks and was expected to be closed to vehicles during the past weekend, but now it's not clear when it will reopen.

PSPC said "specialized equipment" is now in place. Once it's safe to access the site, crews should be able to stabilize the bridge structure.

Part of the causeway is a Bascule bridge, which uses a counterweight to let boats through. Public Services and Procurement Canada says an element of the bridge was "compromised" during construction.
Part of the causeway is a Bascule bridge, which uses a counterweight to let boats through. Public Services and Procurement Canada says an element of the bridge was "compromised" during construction.

Part of the causeway is a Bascule bridge, which uses a counterweight to let boats through. Public Services and Procurement Canada says a steel truss supporting the weight was 'compromised' during construction. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

The closure comes as Kingston is bracing for tens of thousands of visitors for the solar eclipse on April 8, when the causeway would have been a crucial link for tourists and locals alike.

PSCP said it will continue to provide updates and hopes to reopen the bridge as soon as possible.