Toronto’s Port Lands open two landmark bridges
January 25, 2024
Two Entuitive-designed bridges open to the public today at Toronto’s Port Lands, representing a significant step forward in the redevelopment of 500 previously underused acres.
As part of Waterfront Toronto’s $1.3-billion Port Lands Flood Protection Enabling Infrastructure (PLFPEI) revitalization project, the single-span Cherry Street North (pictured above) and four-span Commissioners Street (below) Bridges will carry pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles—including planned light-rail transit (LRT) vehicles on Cherry Street—from downtown Toronto to the future Villiers Island. They complement the Cherry Street South Bridge, which opened in 2022 and crosses the new mouth of the Don River on the west side of the island.
Serving as the project’s structural engineer, Entuitive led a team that included Grimshaw Architects and preliminary structural designer Schlaich Bergermann Partner (SBP), while general contractor EllisDon led construction. In each case, a hybrid shell-arch structure—with self-anchoring curved tied arches and a planar deck connected by hangers—was chosen to maximize efficiency and reduce costs.
The tied arches only create vertical reaction forces, which helped reduce the size and complexity of the foundations. This was key, given the soil in the industrial area is poor-quality and contaminated. Supporting foundations and piers were also limited by the site’s flood protection plan.
“From concept to construction, there have been many challenges, which brought lots of opportunity for innovation and collaboration,” says Jonathan Werner, senior associate at Entuitive. “Seeing the Port Lands Bridges open for the public to use and enjoy makes it all worthwhile.”
“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,” says Michael Stein, managing director of SBP. “They are a prime example of how architects, engineers, contractors, and owners can come together and design beautiful bridges.”
Other project team members included Cherubini Bridges & Structures (fabricator), Tensa (steel detailer), ES Fox (erector), Harbourside Engineering Consultants (erection engineer), Thurber Engineering (geotechnical engineer) and Mulvey & Banani (electrical and lighting).