Pickering pedestrian bridge spans more than Hwy. 401

Pickering GO Station crossing continues to attract attention including an award nomination.

Mar 18, 2019

It’s no small feat to span 14 lanes over Canada’s busiest highway.

But when you get to the other side, the reasons and rewards quickly become apparent.

Officially opened last September, the pedestrian bridge that spans Hwy. 401 from Pickering GO station, has – for the thousands of people who regularly walk the 250-metres – become part of the fabric of Durham region.

The pedestrian bridge is seen looming over Hwy. 401 traffic during a daylight shot.

A mighty span – The Pickering GO station crossing has become an iconic structure in the region.

The Metrolinx-built architectural wonder, with a unique metal exoskeleton and LED lighting system that’s similar to the one used on the CN Tower, has now been nominated by the City of Pickering for an urban design award. The annual award – winners will be decided during an event on May 13 – is handed out to those who have made a significant contribution to architecture and urban design within Pickering over the last year or more.

Beyond even being considered for that, the bridge has managed to reach into a space where it’s become synonymous with life in Durham region. So much so, that on one blog, “You’re thankful every day for the pedestrian bridge from Pickering GO station to the mall” is listed as No. 12 among ‘19 signs you’re definitely from Pickering’.

It’s used as a driving landmark and a social media – especially at night – magnet.

More than any awards or architectural notice – as one of the longest enclosed pedestrian bridges in the world, it attracts attention from designers globally – it was meant to become a functional landmark that improves the community and helps Metrolinx customers. Every detail was carefully thought out, says Roberto Sguassero, a manager with Metrolinx’s Capital Projects Group. That includes the innovative use of the Kalzip cladding system that gives the bridge its flowing form. The material controls solar heat for a comfortable walk, and allows for lighting so the interior is never dark.

Trucks and cars drive under the bridge, in a photo taken from high above during the day.

Shot from above, the size and scope of the crossing becomes apparent.

“There had been talk for four decades in Pickering about building a bridge over Highway 401, so we knew the final project would have to be iconic – to quickly become part of the community,” says Bruce Sevier, a senior manager with the Capital Projects Group at Metrolinx.

“Listening to the community, or whenever I drive under it or walk through it, I think that goal was achieved. Being nominated for this award just reinforces our place within Pickering.

“It’s where we wanted to reach all along.”