Hog’s Back Falls Temporary Ramps

Hog’s Back is where the Rideau Canal leaves the Rideau River. The river veers a bit further east while the canal aims for downtown. There are two locks, but the upper one (closest to Mooney’s Bay) is a flood guard lock and normally its doors are open on the south side.

If the water is really high, that lock can be used as an extra lock. Then there are the falls which are quite impressive in spring. It is a great place to hang out and watch the world go by. Unfortunately the high-rises on the west side spoil the pastoral setting. Just sit with your back to them.

Hog’s Back Locks Swing Bridge

The swing bridge, running over the south end of the locks and opening about 20 times per day in peak season, needs repair badly. Built in 1976, it needed repairs in 2006-08 and later in 2016 again. You may remember pretty serious issues with the bridge again in 2017 and the NCC finally received monies to fix the troubled bridge over the water. The NCC looked into replacing the entire bridge but eventually chose for repairs to extend the life of the bridge by another 20- 30 years.

Rehabilitation scope of work
– Replacement of steel grating with a closed deck system
– Replacement of railing system on the bridge and approaches
– Complete structural steel re-coating
– Replacement of all electrical/bridge control components
– Replacement/refurbishment of mechanical components

http://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/projects/rehabilitation-of-the-hogs-back-swing-bridge

Hog’s Back Falls

The repair on the bridge is not the only construction happening. Public Works is working at the same time on the bridge over the Prince of Wales Falls, better known as the Hog’s Back Falls a wee further east.

The last time when the swing bridge was closed, cyclists and pedestrians were asked to cross the locks instead. It is doable, but tight. This time, the NCC went out of its way to build a large ramp over the middle set of doors to accommodate the steady stream of residents using the bridge. Let’s have a look at that construction:

ramp on the westside
The ramp on the west side
West side switch back in order to accommodate wheel chair users
West side switchback in order to accommodate wheelchair users
The steps on the west side. Not everyone likes the bike channel
The steps on the west side. Not everyone likes the bike channel
The temporary deck on top of the lock doors
The temporary deck on top of the lock doors
sign showing 10% slope
It is not as bad as the sign says
Here is a view of how it looks like looking north
Here is a view of how the set up looks like looking north
When the lock door is open, you can see how they built the deck on top of the existing lock doors. A series of H bars bolted to the underside of the lock carry the widened deck
When the lock door is open, you can see how they built the deck on top of the existing lock doors. A series of H bars bolted to the underside of the lock deck carry the widened deck
View from the lock doors towards downtown. The yellow speck at the horizon is the Ukrainian church on Heron and Prince of Wales
View from the lock doors towards downtown. The yellow speck at the horizon is the Ukrainian church on Heron and Prince of Wales Drive
The east side of the ramp is less steep and so no stairs are needed, although you will note steps for the lock operators to get to the winches (left)
The east side of the ramp is less steep and no stairs are needed, although you will note steps for the lock operators to get to the winches (left).
kids on locks
and yes it is being used!

Smooth sailing

It is very easy to navigate the ramps and the locks. Compared with all the existing crossings this is a dream, but unfortunately temporary. It does show a change in mindset though for that there is considerable money spent on this detour, where as in the past active transportation would just be parked (pun) for the duration of the project. If I could mention one point of critique, it would be the colour. Why brown instead of “Historic Rideau Canal Grey” if you stain the wood anyway….?

More reading on the Rideau Canal: a Voyageur at Hartwell’s Locks.

Sources: Ottawa Citizen August 1, 2018, NCC updates

1 Comment

  1. Hans, I always appreciate your posts! Something that I was worried about when they started this was whether the bridge maintenance would affect the underpass beneath Hog’s Back road. Based on their plans and my recent commutes it looks like that will remain open for the duration so North/South pedestrian and bike traffic will still flow. Glad they did this though as it looks like a more accessible method of crossing while the maintenance is being done.

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