toronto bridge

Toronto bridge stuck in upright position for days is confusing people trying to get to beach

An aging bridge in Toronto's Port Lands that locals use to get to the waterfront by foot, car or bike has been jammed and put out of commission for days now, and apparently won't be fixed for a few more as crews complete emergency repairs.

The Ship Channel Bridge, or Cherry Street Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge, is one of a number of crossings that are being revitalized or completely replaced as the district undergoes its $1.3 billion facelift.

It has remained a relic of the area's industrial past just north of Cherry Beach while impressive feats of eco-engineering and futuristic pieces of infrastructure have popped up nearby, and has continued functioning alright despite looking far worse for wear — that is, until the end of April.

PortsToronto notified residents on April 24 that the 1930-built lift bridge — which rises to let ships pass on the channel beneath it — had suddenly become jammed in its upright position, necessitating the closure of Cherry Street south of Polson Street.

While the authority wrote on X that the viaduct was undergoing service and was expected to be fixed a few days later, it seems that the issues have persisted. The bridge was lowered and opened to traffic again on the 25th while work continued on its mechanisms, and was then deeemed fully operational on April 26, though with "additional maintenance work ongoing."

But, over the weekend, people trying to cross at the point were confounded to find it stuck upright once more.

"I came across town and got all the way down here, only to join a bunch of confused walkers, cyclists and drivers standing at a dead end," one person wrote on Reddit on Sunday, adding that it is "kind of cool to see the bridge that way, but not great if you're headed to Cherry Beach or beyond."

PSA: Cherry Street Bridge is still stuck, beach not accessible except from Leslie
byu/mmeeeerrkkaatt intoronto

PortsToronto has now detailed the circumstances of the repeat closure in multiple community notices on its website, writing that as of May 1, the overpass was again rendered unusable and would be "locked in the upright position until Monday, May 6 as emergency repairs are completed."

The problems stem from an April 22 incident that damaged a bridge shaft, which has caused "the potential to cause a full failure of the lifting mechanism."

"This mechanism is an original, 92-year-old part of the bridge and is scheduled to be replaced and/or rehabilitated as part of the final stage of an ongoing project led by PortsToronto and the City of Toronto, which has been underway since March 2022," PortsToronto continued in its Wednesday PSA.

Though phase 1 of this project was wrapped up in March, but phase 2, which includes the restoration of the main structure and systems therein, is not due to start until later this year.

 The latest update from Thursday states that due to the lift troubles, it won't be possible to lower the bridge again until May 10.

"Structural analysis on the damaged main shaft and lifting mechanism continues. Engineering teams expect results next week that will determine next steps for the repair/containment of damage sustained, and the continued safe operation of the bridge," the post reads.

"PortsToronto will continue to provide updates here and on our social media channels as information becomes available," the announcement continues.
"During this time, Cherry Street will remain closed for vehicular and pedestrian traffic south of Polson Street. Members of the public and all Port users can still use Unwin Avenue (base of Leslie Street) to access the Port and Cherry Beach."

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