Detour routes during Warsaw Swing Bridge closure

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Aerial photo from Trent looking south

Map of detour routes for Warsaw Bridge closurePeterborough, ON - The Warsaw Swing Bridge over the Trent-Severn Waterway on Parkhill Road East, between Armour Road and Television Road, is closed for Parks Canada’s replacement of the bridge from October 5, 2020 until summer 2021. Access for local residents and businesses on Parkhill Road will remain open. 

Signs are posted for detour routes to assist motorists with navigating to alternative crossing points over the Trent-Severn Waterway canal during the closure. 

Update: Parks Canada issued a Construction Update on July 28, 2021 advising that the bridge is expected to open early August. The City will reopen MacFarlane Avenue, Old Norwood Road and Maniece Avenue in conjunction with Parks Canada opening of the swing bridge.

There are two signed detour routes. The main detour route for eastbound traffic and all trucks follows University Road, Nassau Mills Road, and Armour Road. A secondary detour route for Westbound traffic follows Television Road, Lansdowne Street, and Ashburnham Drive. 

Residents and visitors are encouraged to follow signed detour routes. 

The City appreciates that major infrastructure work, such as the replacement of a bridge, can cause disruptions and inconveniences for residents and businesses. While these investments are needed to maintain infrastructure, the City considers various scenarios to minimize that disruption, when possible.

Parks Canada’s replacement of the Parkhill Road East bridge over the Trent-Severn Waterway is an important investment in a major transportation route. The bridge handles traffic volumes of about 10,000 vehicles a day. The temporary closure of the route during the bridge replacement means that traffic needs to be re-routed.

As part of the detours, only local traffic is permitted on MacFarlane Avenue, Old Norwood Road and Maniece Avenue between Television Road and Ashburnham Drive.

The reasoning for limiting traffic on the three streets noted above is:

  • The streets are not designed to handle the volume of traffic that is experienced on Parkhill Road East. Putting that volume of traffic along those stretches of streets would create safety concerns, including at intersections where turning movements with that volume of traffic could create an unsafe situation.
  • Turning movements on Television Road at the intersection for these streets, if they were used as detour routes, would lead to backed up traffic on Television Road and create dangerous situations for motorists based on the volume of traffic experienced on Television Road.
  • Detour traffic using those three streets would likely funnel to the one-lane crossings at McFarlane Street and the Lift Lock tunnel, backing up traffic and creating an unsafe situation at those one-lane crossings.
  • There is a school zone on McFarlane Street, where some of the traffic would be funneled to if the detours included the one-lane McFarlane Street bridge.

There are three alternative two-lane crossings that can accommodate the increased traffic that are within about five kilometres of the temporarily closed bridge – Nassau Mills Road, Maria Street, and Lansdowne Street.

The City appreciates that the detours create an inconvenience for some residents as they need to go to an alternative crossing point; however, detour routes were decided after reviewing the affected traffic flows, the integrity of the infrastructure, and safety considerations.

The City will continue to monitor operations on the area road network and on Lansdowne Street during the detour to facilitate traffic flows. 

Average travel times to follow the posted detour routes starting from Parkhill Road at Television Road to Parkhill Road at Armour Road is 10 minutes to 15 minutes during peak times.

Signage has been posted to direct traffic to detour routes and to make motorists aware that Maniece Avenue, Old Norwood Road and MacFarlane Avenue between Television Road and Ashburnham Drive are only open to local traffic. After initial education efforts by police to inform motorists that the streets aren’t open to through traffic, enforcement has happened under the failure to obey a posted regulatory sign.

The City has explored various alternatives to mitigate concerns related to safety and infrastructure, including ideas offered by residents.

 Options considered
 Having police officers direct traffic at the intersections to the side roads during peak periods each day

 On-duty police officers would not be available for this work. Any police assistance would be through paid, off-duty officers. For this type of off-duty, overtime work, Peterborough Police Service wouldn’t be able to guarantee availability for each day for the eight-month duration of the disruption.

The cost for traffic control at the three intersections on Television Road in the morning and afternoon over the duration of the disruption, Monday to Friday, is estimated to be about $250,000 to $300,000.

Additionally, there is the potential for increased collision/safety issues if officers are asked to stop traffic on Television Road at an intersection that is not signalized to allow cars to turn onto Maniece Avenue.

 Enforcing reckless driving and vehicle operation (e.g. parking on sidewalks, parking in crosswalks, parking in no stopping) in school zone
 It can help while enforcement is present, but behaviour typically returns as soon as enforcement gone.
 Enforcing speeding instead of shutting down the roads
 Speed is only one of several concerns related to the opening up of these roads to through traffic. With over 10,000 vehicles a day that typically use Parkhill Road opening Old Norwood Road, Maniece Avenue and/or MacFarlane Avenue to through traffic would encourage a large number of these vehicles to use these roads (instead of the posted detour route) resulting in a number of operational and safety concerns.
 Installing temporary traffic signals at affected intersections
 Temporary traffic signals cost about $150,000 to procure and install at each intersection. It would take about three months to design, order and install the temporary equipment.
 Lowering speed limit in school zone permanently
 Speed limit is already lowered during school time when risk is most apparent.
 Lowering speed limit in school zone during school-in/out times with flashing lights
 This is already in place - 40km/h with flashing lights.
 Opening some or all the streets that are closed to through traffic
 Beyond the concern about the capacity of the individual streets to handle that volume of traffic, the opening or partial opening of the streets would increase traffic flows on the McFarlane Street single-lane bridge and the single-lane Lift Lock tunnel on Hunter Street. The ability of these single-lane crossings to accommodate increased traffic may become an issue moving forward.
 Installing all-way stops on Television Road at the affected intersections
 With the volume of traffic on Television Road, all-way stops would lead to extensive traffic backup/lines on this heavily used corridor.
Traffic Calming measures on McFarlane Street in the school zone, such as artificially narrowing the street to reduce speed
Parked vehicles during pick up and drop off already narrow available space to some extent Implementing further physical measures would restrict access to shoulders for drop off / pick up – forcing this activity into the neighbourhoods – this was a concern during Armour Road closures.
Installing a temporary bridge

This idea has been reviewed with Parks Canada. The time needed to install a temporary bridge would be as long as installation of the new permanent bridge being installed by Parks Canada.

Any bridge, temporary or permanent, is an engineered structure that would require design in relation to the site and rating for traffic volumes with approval from all the regulatory authorities to ensure the safety of the structure.

Calling the military to install a temporary bridge used during emergency situations has not been pursued as there are three alternative crossings (Nassau Mills Road, Maria Street, Lansdowne Street) within about 5 kilometres of the temporarily closed bridge.

 Additional efforts to deal with increase in heavy vehicle traffic on alternative routes
 Additional signs have been installed to advise trucks of restrictions on McFarlane Street bridge. The road closures provide an additional level of protection of the infrastructure and local community. Out of town drivers typically do not know the road network and rely on GPS – which guides them into this area. Advisory signage about the closure and posted detour routes are in place on Highway 115 and Highway 7, County Road 4, Television Road, Parkhill Road, and Water Street north of Nassau Mills Road to intercept vehicles that would typically use Parkhill Road. Trucks are advised to use D-1 detour route, which takes them north to Nassau Mills Road to cross the canal.

Parks Canada has asked anyone with questions about any Trent-Severn Waterway construction project to send an email to and include the project name in the subject heading. Parks Canada can provide information on the bridge replacement and the Parkhill Road closure. For questions about the closure of MacFarlane Avenue, Old Norwood Road and Maniece Avenue to through traffic, please contact the City of Peterborough.

Information on the Warsaw Swing Bridge replacement can be found at

Frequently Asked Questions

 Why is Parkhill Road closed at the Trent-Severn Waterway?

Parks Canada is installing a new bridge over the Trent-Severn Waterway canal. City staff have been working with Parks Canada on this project but cannot influence the timing of the closures nor the scope of work for the project. Staff have worked with Parks Canada to develop a Traffic Management Plan considering a number of, sometimes competing, factors.

Parks Canada provided a project update in their Construction Update, issued July 28, 2021.

 How is traffic being handled through the closure period?
There are over 10,000 vehicles per day that typically use Parkhill Road, many of them heavy trucks. Two formal detour routes have been installed to accommodate the detoured traffic, one to the north via Nassau Mills Road/Armour Road and one to the south via Television Road / Lansdowne Street.
Why are MacFarlane Avenue, Old Norwood Road and Maniece Avenue (between Television Road and Ashburnham Drive) closed to through traffic?

Local traffic and emergency vehicles can continue to access properties along these roads, but through traffic isn’t permitted.

As part of the traffic management plan, MacFarlane Avenue, Old Norwood Road and Maniece Avenue (between Television Road and Ashburnham Drive) have been closed to through traffic, at the recommendation of City staff.

Staff reviewed a number of factors related to Parks Canada’s traffic control and detour route proposal in recommending the closures:

  • Local concerns over the potential for increased volumes and cut-through traffic on Old Norwood Road and Maniece Avenue (safety and congestion)
  • The traffic cutting through on Old Norwood Road and MacFarlane Avenue are using the single lane McFarlane Street bridge or the Lift Lock tunnel to get to and from Armour Road. If too much traffic is allowed on either of these roads it will cause the single lane yield operations to fail - increasing congestion and the potential for accidents. 
  • These roads were not designed to accommodate high-volume traffic, and in particular truck traffic. 
  • There is a school on McFarlane Street and a school crossing. Higher volumes and the potential for higher speeds was a concern.
  • There is added construction traffic on Hunter Street associated with the new East City school.

The City will continue to monitor operations on the area road network.

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For additional details, members of the media are invited to contact the undersigned:

Brendan Wedley, Manager of Communication Services

City of Peterborough

705-742-77777 ext. 1636