March 13, 2023 Media Release

Lanark County is planning for the rehabilitation of Rideau Ferry Bridge.  The work has been tendered and is scheduled to take place during the fall of 2021 and spring to fall of 2022, pending Council approval.

The proposed rehabilitation includes a new concrete wearing surface and new steel railings.

Rideau Ferry Bridge will be reduced to a single lane of traffic over the bridge during the construction project.

There will also be a total of six (6) full road closures required to facilitate the construction. One full closure is anticipated in the fall of 2021, and five full closures in 2022. Road closures will be limited to twelve hours from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Advanced notification of closures will be provided.

Public and agency consultation is an important component of the Project. 

A Public Information Centre is no longer viable due to the ongoing pandemic; therefore, the public is asked to provide comment via the online tool on our webpage shown below.

Lanark County would like to provide information on the planned rehabilitation and receive input and comments from interested persons.

Description of Bridge

Rideau Ferry Bridge is seven span prestressed concrete girder bridge with a total length of 162.7m crossing the UNESCO world heritage site Rideau Canal on a straight alignment with a vertical curve above the Rideau Lake.


Located on County Road 1 (Rideau Ferry Road), 5.6km north of MTO Highway 15, the bridge forms a boundary between Lanark County and Leeds and Grenville County.


The bridge hosts two lanes of traffic on a 9.1m travelled way and pedestrians on a 1.5m wide sidewalk on the east side of the bridge.

Background Information

Rideau Ferry Bridge was constructed in 1968, replacing the previous low level span wood bridge that included a swing bridge located at the north end, which the Township of Drummond North Elmsley has since replicated and rebuilt as a dock in the original location.


In 1993, concrete patch repairs were completed to the ends of the girders and the diaphragms, as well as grouting between the ends of the pier girders.


Rideau Ferry Bridge underwent a minor rehabilitation in 1995, which included scarifying the concrete deck to a depth of 25mm, concrete patch repairs, installing new expansion joints; and placing a new 60mm concrete overlay.


Miscellaneous concrete patch repairs were completed on the deck top and sidewalk in 2011.

Rehabilitation Needs

Rideau Ferry Bridge received an enhanced inspection in 2019 which included the use of a Bridgemaster type vehicle to gain full access to the underside of the bridge.

Rideau Ferry bridge also underwent a bridge deck condition survey and structural evaluation.

The results of the specialized investigations concluded the following:

  1. The overlaid exposed concrete deck slab has started to deteriorate, has a polished surface or lack of tining, and prominent open cracking.
  2. The deck soffit is mostly in good condition with some isolated areas of deterioration between the girders and on the deck copings. Not more than 0.1% of the soffit is damaged from spalling or delamination.
  3. The deck drains exhibit severe corrosion and section loss at their discharge ends and should be replaced.
  4. The expansion joints appear to be sealing.
  5. The concrete parapet walls are in comparatively good condition given their age. There are numerous shallow patches and isolated areas of deterioration.
  6. The aluminum twin pipe railing system is mostly in very good condition with some minor plough damage scuffing and stanchion impact.
    1. The concrete curbs are effective as barrier curbs. Their faces were patched but possess significant plough abrasion. The curbs and sidewalks have extensive shallow patches and some large areas of scaling.
    2. The elastomeric bearings remain functional. The bearings at both abutments have cracked jackets and ideally should be replaced. Furthermore, girder slope compensating wood shims under the bearings are weathered and possibly at the end of their service life.
    3. The abutment stems have large areas of delamination and spalling. The south abutment wall is in the poorest condition and the rebar there has significant section loss. The ballast walls are in fair condition where visible, but their overall condition remains uncertain.
    4. The six reinforced concrete piers are in generally good condition with some isolated areas of minor deterioration associated with possible leakage through the negative moment cracks in the deck.
    5. The prestressed girders are in overall good condition with some damage at the abutments and piers due to historic expansion joint leakage and a poor reinforcing detail at the piers.
    6. The diaphragms at the piers all have failed repair areas and delamination and spalling associated with a poor end-to-end girder connection detail and restrained creep and shrinkage forces.

Scope of Work

Based on the conclusion of the special investigations, the following scope of work has been detailed and put out for tender.

The Rideau Ferry Bridge is presently 52 years old. The ordinary design life of the bridge for the time it was designed is nominally 80 years. The below scope of work will provide a rehabilitation that will extend the life of the bridge for approximately 40 years. Thus the bridge should achieve at least a 90 year life.

Following the end of life of the presently tendered rehabilitation, it will in all likelihood require full replacement of the bridge.

The following work has been designed and tendered:


Fall 2021

Substructure work only limited to the abutments, which includes:

  • Refacing the abutments with new concrete
  • Replacing the bearings at the abutment locations only
  • Installing new retaining walls on the north abutment
  • Installing two (2) new catchbasins on the north approach.


Spring to Fall 2022

  • Remove and replace cantilevered curb and sidewalk on deck edges
  • Replace the concrete parapet and aluminum railing system
  • Replace existing timber post and guide rail with new steel post and guide rail
  • Install new pipe railings
  • Scarify Concrete Deck
  • Perform Localized Concrete Deck Repairs
  • Replace Deck Drains
  • Install additional reinforcing in deck overtop piers
  • 60mm Concrete Overlay
  • Replace Expansion Joints at bridge ends
  • Reconstruct top of Ballast Wall and construct new approach slabs

 Rideau Bridge Specs

Rideau Bridge Specs 2


The total number of streetlights will be increased from three to eight, with a streetlight located above each pier. This will provide improved vision and safety for both motorists above and boaters below. The increased street lighting has been designed not to interfere with motorists eyesight nor create unnecessary additional light pollution.


The Township of Drummond North Elmlsey and The Township of Rideau Lakes are jointly reviewing the possibility of installing ambient coloured lighting under the bridge that would operate only during the summer months from dusk to dawn. As further information becomes available, it will be added to this site for the public to comment on.


This project is considered a Municipal Class Environmental Schedule A+ project as per the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) process.


A Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) was undertaken to examine how the project may lead to adverse effects on cultural resources, including potential adverse effects to heritage value and character defining elements of known cultural resources.


The heritage resource that was considered in the impact assessment was the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada and World Heritage Site, which includes the Rideau River as the Rideau Ferry Bridge does not meet the current test for being a potential heritage resource as per the Heritage Bridge Evaluation for MCEA, prepared by the Municipal Engineers Association.


The proposed work is largely restricted to the bridge and structure and does not have any potential negative affects on the heritage value of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada / World Heritage site.


Since the bridge project involves work within a federal jurisdiction, Lanark County is currently working with Parks Canada and Transport Canada on obtaining approval for the work, which includes an impact assessment review process and a shoreline work permit.


The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) had also been consulted with and it has been determined that authorization from DFO is not required, given the standard mitigation measures are met.


Lanark County has already obtained a work permit from Rideau Valley Conservation Authority as well.

Submit a question or concern

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Public Works office.


Rideau Ferry Bridge Name Plate
Rideau Ferry Bridge 1
Rideau Ferry Bridge 2
Rideau Ferry Bridge 3
Rideau Ferry Bridge 4
Rideau Ferry Bridge 5

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