Toronto’s Port Lands celebrates opening of two landmark bridges

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Cherry St. South Bridge with the newly opened Cherry St. North Bridge and roadway in the distance (CNW Group/Entuitive)

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Cherry Street North and Commissioners Street Bridges are now open to the public, a major milestone in the redevelopment of 500 acres of land in Toronto’s Port Lands neighbourhood.

It was joint design effort led by Entuitive was also bolstered with direction from Waterfront Toronto and Construction Manager EllisDon, who led the construction process from fabrication to erection.

Since arriving in Toronto in 2022, the Port Lands Bridges have won international engineering and design awards, and the signature bridges were made possible by the following partners:

“We are honored to be a part of the physical transformation of the Toronto waterfront into a vibrant, active, and connected community,” says Juan Porral, Partner, Grimshaw. “The Port Lands Bridges enable connectivity and ease of mobility, creating memorable gateways for pedestrians, cyclists, future streetcars, and vehicles onto and through the new Villiers Island.”

The project team includes:

  • Architect Firm: Grimshaw Architects
  • Preliminary Structural Design: schlaich bergermann partner (sbp)
  • Structural Engineer: Entuitive
  • General Contractor: EllisDon
  • Fabricator: Cherubini Bridges & Structures
  • Detailer: Tenca Steel Detailing Inc.
  • Erector: ES Fox Ltd.
  • Erection Engineer: Harbourside Engineering Consultants
  • Geotechnical Engineer: Thurber Engineering Ltd.
  • Civil Engineer: Planmac Engineering Inc.
  • Electrical & Lighting: Mulvaney & Banani Lighting Inc.

The design team arrived at a hybrid shell-arch bridge structure—essentially curved tied arches with a planar deck connected by hangers. This self-anchoring curved-tied arch maximizes the material efficiency and reduces cost. Additionally, tied arches only create vertical reaction forces which reduce the size and complexity of the foundations. This was a key design consideration since the soil in the industrial area is contaminated and of poor quality and supporting foundations and piers were also limited by the site’s flood protection plan.

“The Port Lands Bridges are a prime example of how creative teams of architects, engineers, contractors, and owners can come together and design beautiful bridges,” says Michael Stein, Managing Director, sbp. “We are thrilled to contribute to the evolution of Villiers Island with bridges that serve the community both as functional infrastructure and as engaging landmarks that improve the quality of their built environment.”

The family of Port Lands Bridges has been widely recognized with engineering and steel construction design awards in North America and Europe, including the Institution of Structural Engineers, the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, the Structural Engineers Association of NY, and the Association of Consulting Engineers Companies for Ontario.

“From concept to construction there have been many challenges, which brought lots of opportunity for innovation and collaboration,” says Jonathan Werner, Senior Associate, Entuitive. “Seeing the Port Lands Bridges open to the public for them to use and enjoy makes it all worthwhile.”

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