Note:Technical photos, maps and other downloadable graphics can be accessed here.
The different levels of government responsible for planning and managing the National Capital Region (NCR) have long been aware of the area’s interprovincial transportation challenges. Previous planning studies have identified the Region’s lack of sufficient interprovincial crossing capacity during peak hours as a key constraint to an integrated and efficient interprovincial transportation network.
Recognizing this, the NCC, the ministère des Transports du Québec and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation have formed a partnership to identify potential new inter-provincial crossings. The selection and ultimate establishment of crossing corridors, following a sound environmental assessment process, is an important step towards the enhancement of interprovincial and regional transportation.
The Federal EA screening process is being followed by the NCC for this study. The EA Study process is the result of discussion with the Federal and Provincial governments. The EA Study will conform to the requirements of a harmonized process with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Loi sur la qualité de l’environnement de Québec (LQE). As well, the study will coordinate with the principles and spirit of the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (OEAA).
The environmental assessment will be undertaken in two phases. Phase 1 of the study was completed in January 2009. A copy of the Phase 1 Planning Feasibility and Needs and Justification Assessment Report can be found here.
Phase 1 (December 2006 – January 2009)
Phase 1 of the Study involved four steps. These activities, as described below, are an important part of the assessment process. Reports from Phase 1 consultations, with full comments, can be accessed here.
Step 1 – Launch of Activities (February to September 2007)
The initial step was to prepare a draft Terms of Reference (TOR) document, to act as a procedural blueprint for all subsequent steps and activities undertaken during the Study. The draft TOR outline the study process, state the study objectives, study design, alternatives, and detail the proposed public consultation process.
Step 2 – Needs Analysis (September to November 2007)
This step examined the existing and projected transportation conditions crossing the Ottawa River. A Transportation Planning/Needs Assessment Report was developed that considered demand forecasting and transportation analyses for relevant planning horizons (potentially 2021 and 2031). This task included a thorough examination of trip characteristics (e.g. the magnitude of long-distance compared to short-distance travel and an examination of origin/destination travel patterns for vehicular and heavy truck traffic).
Step 3 – Analysis and Evaluation of Alternative Solutions (October 2007 to February 2008)
After establishing the need for improvements, a coarse screening evaluation was undertaken and documented to eliminate alternatives that were not feasible or would have significant impacts, as well as identifying those that are necessary complementary elements of a ‘basket’ of solutions for the transportation network (transit, transportation, demand management, and transportation system management). A ‘Do nothing’ alternative was also considered.
Step 4 – Identification and Evaluation of Alternative Corridors and Documentation (March 2008 to January 2009)
Step 4 involved the analysis and prioritization of corridor alignments and alternative technologies (ferry, bridge and tunnel types) within both east and west study areas. This ranking of alternatives led to the selection of the technically preferred alternative corridor(s) and documentation.
Phase 2A (October 2009 – June 2010)
Phase 2 is comprised of two stages, the first of which, Phase 2A, was launched in October 2009 and completed in June 2010. Its mandate was to develop a process for evaluating and selecting a bridge crossing in the east-end of the National Capital Region. The Consultant Team Co-Enterprise AECOM-Delcan developed a Public Engagement Plan for Phase 2A that placed an emphasis on meaningful and interactive exchange of ideas.The Plan was comprised of four steps:
Step 1 – Launch Activities (November to December 2009);
Step 2 – Input (January to April 2010);
Step 3 – Refine (April 2010); and
Step 4 – Report (June 2010).
No decision on the bridge location was made during Phase 2A; the actual selection will be the focus of Phase 2B, the final phase in the Study. Rather, the primary focus of Phase 2A was to consult with communities, stakeholders and members of the public to obtain their input into the development of the following reports:
- The Study Design, which outlines the process and methodology that will be used at Phase 2B, to select an interprovincial bridge crossing in the Region’s east end; and
- The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEA) Scoping Document, which provides details on the scope of the project and scope of assessment for Phase 2B.
As a result of input submitted during Phase 2A, the Consultant Team was able to make informed changes to the Study Design and CEA Scoping Document. All comments received from the public and stakeholders were collated, analyzed and given full consideration.Details on the Phase 2A Consultation Program and the impact it had in the development of the above reports are outlined in the Consultation Summary Report.
To access all final reports from Phase 2A, please visit the Resources page.
Phase 2B (Initiated spring 2011)
Phase 2B will be undertaken as four rounds of consultation beginning with Round 1 – Priorities and Values.Round 1 will be listening to the communities, both local and regionally, to define the values in the corridors under study, and discuss evaluation criteria and mitigation to be considered.Round 2 – Receiving input on functional designs including mitigation or avoidance, measurements of the net effects in the corridors under investigation, and the importance of competing evaluation criteria.Round 3 – Receive input on the rankings of alternatives and sensitivity testing of the evaluation. If necessary, elements of the evaluation may be revisited to obtain clarity on the technical evaluation.Round 4 – Present the preliminary design of the preferred corridor and define mitigation measures in the EA.
Phase 2B’s mandate includes the provision of remaining environmental assessment services.Deliverables consist of:
- An EA Study, in accordance with the Study Design Report developed in Phase 2A.This includes documentation of existing conditions; preliminary design drawings; scoping of issues and parameters; detailed evaluation criteria; results of evaluation of alternatives; identification of mitigation measures and enhancement opportunities; environmental management plans; property requirements; cost estimates; results of consultations with stakeholders including the public; and recommended Project corridor including implementation strategy; and
- A Screening Report: The Screening Report is the decision document of the expert and regulatory federal departments respecting their joint position on the significance of potential adverse environmental effects with mitigation. Generally, the Screening Report presents a summary of the major issues addressed in the environmental assessment and may reject, modify or add to the mitigation measures recommended by the consultant following its completion of the environmental assessment.
Public consultation will be a significant part of the Phase 2B Environmental Assessment Study. Please click here to access details on consultation activities.