Looking up – A glass pedestrian bridge to connect Toronto and GO customers to the new bus terminal is being installed

A new bridge is set to go over Bay Street this busy long weekend. Expect some detours as you make your way downtown. Also expect a cool way to make your way to the GO Transit bus terminal, that’s now under construction.

GO Transit customers are about to get another important route – high above.

Crews will be installing a glass pedestrian bridge between Scotiabank Arena and the Union Station Bus Terminal that is now under construction at 81 Bay Street.

In an artist concept, people walk across a glass bridge as traffic flows below.

Up and over. An artist concept of what the new glass bridge will look like in downtown Toronto. (Photo rendering by Wilkinson Eyre)

The bridge lift is an impressive project with an even more impressive timeline; crews will only have the two weekends to install the elevated structure which will span 39.5 m over Bay Street.

“On the first weekend we’ll set up cranes and shoring towers – the bridge will then be lifted in two pieces,” explains Grant Bailie, director of Rail Corridor Infrastructure at Union Station.

He says crews will install steel framing and on the second weekend, put in storm pipes and drains, insulation, vapour barrier and metal cladding.

Crews work on the CIBC SQUARE building.

Work continues on CIBC SQUARE. The new GO Transit bus terminal will be located at the north-east corner of the building. (Photo by Nitish Bissonauth)

In order to facilitate the installation of this bridge, Bay Street will close from Front Street to Lake Shore Boulevard from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, August 31 until 5 a.m. Monday, September 2.

This means GO customers will have restricted access to both the Bay East and Bay West teamways. GO buses will be able to get through to the bus terminal via Front Street, but with certain detours on York or Yonge Streets, buses may be arriving five to ten minutes late.

Workers walk past a square in a building that the bridge will be connected to.

The preliminary work for the glass, pre-constructed pedestrian bridge is done. The structure expected to go up between midnight and 5 a.m. on Saturday, August 31. Here is the side that will connect to CIBC SQUARE. (Photo by Nitish Bissonauth)

Construction crews work around the Scotiabak Arena.

And here’s where it will connect to the Scotiabank Arena. (Photo by Nitish Bissonauth)

With the road temporarily closed, crews will also be installing scaffolding to later complete the revitalization of the current rail span over Bay Street – a heritage bridge which dates back to 1927, the same time Union Station was built.

Station Operations Central staff and Transit Safety officers will be available to assist customers with wayfinding, and signage will be installed by EllisDon and Metrolinx.

Paid-duty officers will also be on site during the closure at both Front Street and Lake Shore Boulevard to help people get around.

It’s short-term pain for long-term gain.

The elevated pedestrian bridge will eventually allow GO Customers to safely cross Bay Street above traffic and directly access Level Two of the new Union Station Bus Terminal, once it’s completed.

The new bridge will also be an extension of the city’s PATH network and create a first class experience for GO customers who will be able to seamlessly move between rail and bus; all while being protected from the elements year round.

“This pedestrian bridge is an important part of the new Union Station Bus Terminal project,” Bailie says.

“Seeing this piece and the rest of CIBC SQUARE rise from the ground is extremely satisfying ”

Metrolinx, Ivanhoé Cambridge, and Hines have been working together to build the terminal on the north-east corner of the CIBC SQUARE. A development which includes two office towers and an overbuild park spanning the GO rail corridor, the first of its kind for the city.

A rendering shows a high, glass tower.

What the new CIBC SQUARE is expected to look like, when completed. (© 2017 DBOX: a branding & creative agency)

The new Union Station Bus Terminal will have better links to the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard and improved accesses to Toronto’s Union Station, the TTC, VIA Rail, UP Express and connect people to popular attractions such as the CN Tower, Ripley’s aquarium and the Rogers Centre.

It will also have 14 bus bays – twice as many as the current bus terminal.

It’s an important project when you consider GO Transit currently runs on average 485 bus trips every weekday out of the current Union Station Bus Terminal, transporting around 13,600 daily weekday riders.

Expected to open in 2020, the new bus terminal will make it easier for customers to get to their destination while improving experience and safety. The installation of the glass structure over Bay Street is a sign from above that Toronto is getting closer to a new and improved transit hub.

Story by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx Bilingual Spokesperson, Media Relations and Issues Specialist