A plan to light up the Bloor viaduct in time for the 2015 PanAm Games has cleared a major hurdle, gaining the backing of Mayor Rob Ford's executive committee, which also earmarked $1.6-million for the project.
The plan will illuminate the arches of the landmark bridge as well as the railings and suicide barrier with a series of LED lights. The subway right-of-way tucked under the roadway also will be illuminated with lights that change colour and track the movement of passing trains.
"The Pan Am Games is our chance to shine," said Councillor Paula Fletcher, who represents one of the four wards that border the viaduct and pushed hard for the project. "We have to showcase our city and get this right."
Ms. Fletcher said the location of the bridge across the Don Valley means it will be seen by athletes in the village located in the lower Don Lands and by visitors travelling up and down the parkway.
The idea of lighting the bridge was part of the original design for the suicide barrier. After languishing for 11 years, Ms. Fletcher said the money set aside for legacy projects linked to the Pan Am Games provided an opportunity to complete the plan.
The project still requires an engineering study before it goes forward, as well as the approval of council.
The executive endorsed the project Wednesday as part of a package of $20-million initiatives. Included in that list of projects is a plan to fast-track the construction of a continuous walking and biking trail that will link sporting venues. It would run from the edge of Brampton to Rexdale, along the Humber River to the waterfront and north along the Don Valley and along to the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus, site of a new aquatic centre now under construction for the games.