Huge spans to be installed by City of Toronto for new King-Liberty Pedestrian Cycle Bridge – Temporary impact felt on UP Express schedule this Sunday.

An important City of Toronto bridge installation – that’s been years in the making – is getting off the ground over an important rail corridor. Here’s what you need to know about spans that will be assembled in mid-air – as well as why GO buses will be on duty to transport UP Express passengers during the work.

The construction of a sophisticated pedestrian span across a major rail corridor by the City of Toronto will reach new heights this weekend.

But it will also have an impact on UP Express customers.

Residents of the King West Village neighbourhood will have a quicker route to walk or cycle into Liberty Village and have direct access to the Exhibition GO Station thanks to the new bridge. Construction is well underway with piers already set up. All that’s left is for the steel bridge structure to be hoisted and put in place.

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The new pedestrian cycle bridge is set to go over this part of the rail corridor with piers already in place on both sides. Photo by Dean Bragg.

An artist image shows the bridge spanning the tracks.

An artist rendering of what the new bridge will look like. Image from the City of Toronto.

The city’s King-Liberty Pedestrian Cycle Bridge will go over the Kitchener/Milton Rail Corridor and will span 55 metres, stretching from Douro St. all the way to Western Battery Rd.

Dean Bragg, third party projects officer for Metrolinx, says unlike other bridges erected over the rail corridor, the King-Liberty Bridge is not a single span that is hoisted up and lowered.

Instead, Bragg explains, the King-Liberty Bridge will require two large spans to be matched up while suspended by cranes and then bolted together before being put into place. It’s an engineering dance done in mid-air.

Images shows different elements included in the bridge, including bird-friendly glazing.

Access to the bridge will be provided by a staircase with a bicycle stairway on each side, as well as elevators. Public art will also be included in the design of the glass for the elevator towers at both ends. Images from the City of Toronto.

To accommodate the work done by the City of Toronto, Metrolinx will close the rail corridor on Sunday (Sept. 15) from 2 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

“Crews will be working in a very short period of time and to overcome this challenge, the bridge has been previously fitted together off-site to ensure a perfect fit,” explains Bragg.

For UP Express customers, GO buses will replace the early morning UP Express trains as the work means the rail corridor will be closed.

The first bus will leave from Union Station at 5:05 a.m. and at Pearson at 5:37 a.m. on Sunday. Replacement buses will run every 20 minutes until train service resumes at 8:30 a.m. During that time buses will not stop at Weston or Bloor Station.

“We try to restrict service adjustments to off-peak hours, provide advance notice and support passengers as best we can,” says Christine Taylor,  Director of Customer Care at Metrolinx. “We know they can be inconvenient, but also bring significant benefits such as this new access to Exhibition GO.

To make sure customers don’t get lost and get to their buses on time, staff will guide people at the ticket/platform areas at Union Station and Pearson International Airport.

Customers planning to use the temporary UP Express bus-bridge service should give themselves extra travel time. One way to save on time is to make sure your PRESTO card is topped up or if you’re an occasional UP Express rider, buy your ticket online.

Image shows the bridge stretching across the rail tracks.

An aerial rending of what the bridge will look like, stretching across Metrolinx’ rail corridor. Image from the City of Toronto.

Once complete, the King-Liberty pedestrian cycle bridge will serve as a vital connection accessed between Atlantic Ave. and Strachan Ave. The passageways will be open and illuminated day and night, and will include security measures, such as closed-circuit cameras, open stairs (for visibility) and emergency call buttons.

The bridge, according to City of Toronto officials, is anticipated to be fully open in the spring of 2020.

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