After years of being used for construction, and then trespassing pedestrians wanting a shortcut, the Franceschini Bridge over the 410 is open to the public.

The bridge, located between Williams Parkway and Bovaird Drive, will provide a safe crossing option for pedestrians and cyclists, and will connect Bramalea Community Park and the Lakelands North subdivision.

Members of Brampton’s active transportation community have been calling for another safe link across the 410 for many years. Crossings on Queen, Bovaird, Steeles, and others, can be dangerous due to narrow sidewalks (if there are any) and the speeding drivers going on and off the freeway. There are just a few crossings that don’t pose these dangers, and they include Vodden and Countryside.

In 2014, the Ministry of Transportation and the city announced that they would be working together to rehabilitate the bridge. Previously, when the Lakelands subdivision was a quarry, gravel trucks used the bridge to take resources away from the now-abandoned pit.

Bridge reconstruction included removal of old railings and installation of new ones, stripping down the road bed and patching up concrete breaks, installing a new textured and coloured asphalt surface, and putting in a new lighting system. The city also put in new trail connections on both sides of the bridge, and added new drainage.

The city’s first pedestrian and cycling counter will track, in real-time, how many people use the bridge.

The new link here is a crucial part of what the City of Brampton calls the “City Loop.” This is around 40 km of trails, bike lanes, and multi-use paths that circle around the city, connecting key destinations. Other improvements that have recently been completed are a trail connection into Heart Lake Conservation Area from the north, and the Kennedy Valley trail extension under the 410.

The Franceschini Bridge will have a grand opening ceremony on Saturday, June 23 at 10:45 a.m., as part of the Toronto Region Conservation Authority’s Bike the Creek event.

Feature Image — City of Brampton Twitter @CityBrampton

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