Fairway Road Extension – Our first bridge over the Grand River in 40 years

bridge

The last time Waterloo Region built a bridge over the Grand River, the Conestoga Parkway was being planned. That was a long time ago and similar to the LRT, the decision wasn’t popular. People said things like “I’ll never use it”, “We don’t need it” and “My taxes are going to go up”.

Sound familiar?

Just think how bad our city traffic would be, how wide our Weber, Westmount and Fischer-Hallman would have to be without our expressway.

We are getting a new bridge this year, the first one over the Grand River since 1963. It will impact the lives of all of us. It will improve connections among Kitchener, Cambridge and Guelph, provide greater access to Highway 401 via Highway 24, and open up north Cambridge lands targeted for industry and homes.

The Fairway Road extension bridge will have four lanes, a centre median, on-road bicycle lanes, and an off-road sidewalk for use by pedestrians and cyclists.

The bridge will carry a 40-centimetre water main across the Grand and will be equipped to carry future utilities.

There will be roundabouts near both ends of the bridge.

It’s going to be good.

I’m thinking about our new bridge because today marks the 75th anniversary of perhaps the most famous bridge in the world – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Before it was built, San Francisco’s growth was hampered by the reliance of ferry traffic to Marlin County. The bridge itself was an engineering marvel at the time. It finished ahead of schedule but cost the lives of 11 men. There is a wonderful photo essay here showing the history of the Golden Gate Bridge.

We should name our bridge!

When I was in New York City last summer, our hotel was at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. One morning, I got up early and walked across the bridge. It was like a movie from Brooklyn to look at lower Manhattan. Our tour guide later in the day told us that there were three bridges that connected Manhattan to Brooklyn and to remember their names just remember BMW – Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg.

The Golden Gate Bridge is named because it spans the Golden Strait, the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The strait is about three-miles long by one-mile wide.The strait was named “Chrysopylae”, or Golden Gate, by John C. Fremont, Captain, topographical Engineers of the U.S. Army in about 1846. It reminded him of a harbor in Instanbul named Chrysoceras or Golden Horn.

We should name our bridge. We should name it the Grand River Bridge, the Chicopee Bridge or even the Conestogo Bridge.

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