Jacques Cartier Bridge will be open to cyclists and pedestrians this winter

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Jacques-Cartier Bridge multipurpose path and sidewalk will be open this winter, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to use the bridge all year long.

The path will remain open seven days a week from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Preventive maintenance will be carried out overnight and closures will also take place sometimes on weekends to allow for more significant snow removal operations.

The federal government will spend $295,000 to keep the path open to pedestrians and cyclists throughout the winter, money that will be used for de-icing salt, labour and equipment. It's not new money, though, as $250,000 of it will come from a cancelled shuttle service that proved to be unpopular, said Sandra Martel, CEO of The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated.

A pilot project was carried out last winter with a small group of cyclists to establish protocols on how to maintain this 2.7-kilometre path and ensure safety from end to end despite slopes, curves and weather-related risks.

"The winter simulation allowed us to determine that an adequate and safe level of service that can be provided on the path and sidewalk in winter," said Martel.

In the winter, 15 to 20 per cent of the average number of normal summer cyclists use the path, or about 350 cyclists per day.

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