BARRHAVEN, Sept. 27, 2022 – A section of trail at Chapman Mills Conservation Area will close on Monday, Oct. 3 so crews can install a new, state-of-the-art accessible pedestrian bridge this fall.
The current wooden bridge near the northern trailhead of Barrhaven’s most beloved boardwalk has reached the end of its life cycle. Thanks to local donors, several significant grants and support from the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation (RVCF), the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority has secured the funding to do the work.
The trail will be closed on either side of the bridge for about six weeks. Visitors can still access the docks and picnic shelter from Winding Way Ave. Most of the trail will remain accessible from the southern trail connection beside Vimy Memorial Bridge.
“This is a really exciting project that will improve accessibility and safety at one of our busiest properties,” said Chelsey Ellis, RVCA’s conservation lands manager. “We know the closure will be inconvenient in the short term, but it’ll be worth it.”
The current bridge has several accessibility issues: it’s not wide enough for two people with wheelchairs or strollers to pass, for example, leaving one person to back up beside the path’s steep shorelines. The narrow bridge also led to temporary park closures in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because adequate physical distancing couldn’t be maintained – leaving many local residents without their go-to nature escape just when they needed it most.
RVCA staff worked with the RVCF and local accessibility consultant Marnie Peters to ensure the new bridge is built to the gold standard of accessibility – not just the legislated minimums. This includes a wider deck, more gradual slopes, accessible sight lines and longer ramps.
“It’s critical that this urban oasis be as accessible as possible for the local community,” Ellis said. “It’s close to two large seniors’ residences and is located in the middle of a family-friendly suburb. It was time to get this done.”
Individuals can still donate to the bridge project directly at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/73114.
To learn more visit www.rvcf.ca/ways-to-give/chapman-mills-accessible-bridge or contact Chelsey Ellis at .