New 13.5 million dollar Harmer Bridge in pictures

HArmer bridge
New Harmer bridge over the Queensway
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Just over two years ago, the Harmer pedestrian and cycling bridge (now called Jackie Holzman bridge) over the Queensway was removed so that it could be replaced for a new one. The old one was at the end of its life cycle and not meeting current standards for accessibility anymore. 

I personally hardly used the bridge, but it is being used by many people (including many school kids) north and south of the Queensway. Holland Ave is a more direct route for me and I find Holland Ave very doable to bike.

The ramp on the south side
The old ramp on the south side

Jackie Holzman bridge

The bridge was built by the Tomlinson Group at a cost of 13.5 million dollars. The ramps were completely custom built by hand, one bucket of concrete at a time. It looked painfully slow to me, but I guess that is just the way one builds bridges.

Last week I checked out the bridge, now called the Jackie Holzman bridge after a former mayor of Ottawa. Ms. Holzman was the first Jewish woman and third woman to become Mayor of Ottawa (1991 to 1997). Yes, there was a time Jim Watson wasn’t mayor, kids. Ms. Holzman was at the opening of the bridge (I always thought you had to be dead if something is named after you) and at 85, fit as a fiddle.

The olde bridge looked pretty decrepit as you can see in this image: move the slider for the before and after bridge:

I wrote a blog two years ago with some rambling about policies for detours. The old Harmer bridge makes a cameo appearance in the discussion about adding safe temporary lanes on Holland.

Below are photos I took during the progress of the construction and the final built.

foundation work on Holzman bridge
foundation work on Holzman bridge
foundation work on Holzman bridge
Massive block carrying the weight of the bridge
building the ramps of the bridge
2×4’s and the table saw are your friends in building the ramps
truck moving the Jackie Holzman bridge
The bridge was built in Montreal and shipped by truck to Ottawa (photo: Jeff Leiper)
Jackie Holzman bridge being transported
Getting the bridge to its destination was a spectacle, requiring a lot of precision driving (if that is a word) (photo: Jeff Leiper)
Work continued during the winter
sound barrier
The city put a barrier between the ramp and the home on the right: upright steel H-bars with horizontal tilted ‘blinds’.
on ramp
You can see the gradual incline well here. I don’t want to sound negative, but in a year or two this will be mostly weeds
drain in bridge
I am not sure if that tiny drain can handle the winter slush. I fear it will be clogged in no time.
drain in Jackie Holzman bridge
It is a good idea though to let the water just drop rather than putting a pipe in
stair case in Jackie Holzman bridge
The staircase on the north side of the bridge
corner in bridge
I really appreciate the rounded corners, a well thought out touch
guard rail
Don’t put your tongue on the guard rail in winter, kids.
off ramp
The north ramp of the bridge runs past Fisher Park public school
Approved by students from Fisher Park Public School
genova san giorgio bridge
In about the same time frame, the Italians built the new Genova San Giorgio bridge, after the old one collapsed in 2018. That took over 1100 people though and work around the clock.

Here is a quick bike through of the bridge (I sped up the video a bit):


  1. Well I recall being aware that my three Duncan grandboys from Harmer Avenue South, returning from school, Elmdale and Fisher Park. How did we know? Well, sudden upping of truck horn frequency following the kids’ friendly waves down to the highway. They encouraged me to follow suit, which I did. Imagine a 60 or 70 something year old lady, often solo, furiously waving to surprised truckers.

    Congratulations on your attractive new overpass!
    Adrienne Burton Vancouver, BC.

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