City of Hamilton restores Valley Inn pedestrian bridge in time for Around the Bay Race

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Today, the City of Hamilton reopened the Valley Inn pedestrian bridge, restoring the local routes that support the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG), Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail and reuniting Around the Bay racers with ‘Heartbreak Hill’ just in time for race day.

The Valley Inn pedestrian bridge is located east of York Boulevard above Grindstone Creek and was installed in 1964 as a temporary structure after the previous bridge collapsed. The Bailey Truss bridge design was developed during the Second World War as a standard military bridge type that was portable, quick to erect, and easy to adjust for different loads and spans. Portions of the bridge remained over time, including the stone abutments that were a part of the original bridge built in 1897.

Construction began in early January 2022, which included the removal of the bridge and the installation of a new steel truss bridge with timber deck and wooden railings meant to resemble the original. To maintain the cultural heritage of the bridge, the original 1897 stone abutments were protected, and two 3-metre-long truss sections of the bridge were salvaged and restored for the creation of two interpretive monuments that will be displayed on either side of the bridge.

In order to ensure the bridge was race day ready, crews installed a temporary wooden bridge deck, but next month, crews will be back to install a permanent, weather-resistant, fiberglass reinforced plastic deck, which has a substantially longer operational life compared to other materials and will keep the bridge in good condition for years to come.

Quick Facts:

  • Following the closure of the bridge to motorists in 2009 and pedestrians in 2019, a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) was initiated in 2020 by the City of Hamilton with support from the City of Burlington, to review the existing natural, cultural, and socio-economic conditions of the bridge.
  • Following the completion of the study, the City determined that a full replacement, as opposed to a repair or a permanent closure of the bridge was the preferred alternative solution identified following its technical review and input received from the public, stakeholders, Indigenous communities, and agencies.
  • The Valley Inn pedestrian bridge has been part of the 30 kilometre “Around the Bay Road Race” since its inception in the City of Hamilton in 1894. Approximately 10,000 participants compete in this race each year.

“It is with great pleasure that the City of Hamilton reopens the Valley Inn pedestrian bridge. Our community and visitors have enjoyed a bridge at this location since 1897, and this newly constructed bridge will give a safe and sturdy crossing to pedestrians and runners for generations to come. We once again thank City staff for their good work in making the new and improved Valley Inn pedestrian bridge a reality."

- Mayor Fred Eisenberger

“I am grateful that the City of Hamilton is reopening the Valley Inn pedestrian bridge which serves as a critical link between Ward 1 in West Hamilton and Aldershot. I look forward to it being included in the historic Around the Bay Race route.”

- Maureen Wilson, Ward 1 Councillor, City of Hamilton