Who knew a bridge could cause so much controversy? But the historic Credit River Bridge had a local residents group, commuters and local politicians in a tizzy as opposition to its demolition ramped up last month.
The architectural gem was designated significant under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2009. The heritage bridge, built in 1934 and carrying six lanes of Queen Elizabeth Way traffic, is an exquisite model of art deco design. Its completion (and naming) was marked by a Royal visit by King George VI and the Queen Mother in 1939!
On Dec. 18, the province committed to restoring the 1934 bridge that had previously been slated for demolishing. At 840 feet long, the just-announced rehabilitation project is part of a plan to bring overall improvements to the QEW from west of Hurontario Street to west of Mississauga Road. Further improvements to the Mississauga Road interchange will come with a new north bridge structure – a feature of the city’s transportation plan.
This is a government that listens to local communities and values their input on important projects like this,” said Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore.
“At over 80 years old, this bridge needs major rehabilitation now, to ensure it remains safe for the public. However, we recognize it is both a provincially significant heritage bridge, and a symbol of the Credit River Valley, and I’m very proud of our commitment to preserve it.”
The Queen Elizabeth Way, which this year marked its 80th anniversary, was Ontario’s first superhighway. In some sections, well over 200,000 vehicles - many of them carrying commuters to Toronto -per day use one of the province's busiest highways.
The QEW and the GO Transit line (born, in part, because of congestion on the QEW) are vital components of housing expansion and population growth west of Toronto.
Mississauga and commuters from Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton and Niagara expressed relief. (And Ward 1 City Councillor Stephen Dasko praised the province for hearing the city’s concerns.
"Very pleased to see the government has listened to the community and decided to save the Heritage QEW bridge across the Credit River," Dasko wrote on Twitter.
"A big thank you to the [Town of Port Credit Association], Mayor [Bonnie] Crombie and councillors [Carolyn] Parrish, [Dipika] Damerla, [Karen] Ras, [Matt] Mahoney and [Ron] Starr for their hard work."
It’s an edifying reality to know that heritage still matters in this province.