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U.S. pitches in to spruce up concrete barricades at embassy in Ottawa

Then-U.S. ambassador David Wilkins addresses a crowd outside the U.S. embassy in Ottawa in this 2005 file photo.

JIM YOUNG/JIm Young/Reuters

The United States is kicking in half a million dollars toward beautifying the ugly concrete barricades around its embassy in Ottawa.

The large concrete blocks cut off a lane of traffic on a stretch of Sussex Drive in the capital's popular ByWard Market neighbourhood.

They've been a bone of contention for businesses since they were put in place as an added security measure following the Sept. 11, 200,1 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

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The barricades will be replaced with "visually pleasing" bollards that will still keep cars from approaching the gleaming fortress-like compound that sits in the heart of Ottawa's tourist district. The total cost of the project, which will include a new four-block bike path on Sussex Drive, is more than $3-million, with $2.5-million coming from the federal government's stimulus fund, and $125,000 from the city of Ottawa.

U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson says the new bollards will make his country better neighbours while meeting his government's security needs.

Mr. Jacobson began his posting to Ottawa last fall, and said he was not impressed with the barricades when he first laid eyes on them following a driving tour of Parliament Hill, the Rideau Falls and other sights in the capital.

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