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The bridge is back! Progress continues on the Patient Support Centre
11 minute read

The bridge is back! Progress continues on the Patient Support Centre


Over the past few months, crews worked to erect the new pedestrian bridge over Elizabeth St. that will connect the Atrium to our future Patient Support Centre.

There has been a lot of action on Elizabeth Street over the past few months, with lots of changes on the Patient Support Centre (PSC) construction site.

In addition to reaching the highest point of construction on the PSC, we reached another project milestone by erecting the new pedestrian bridge that will connect SickKids Atrium to the PSC when it opens next year. The original bridge was dismantled in 2019 to prepare for demolition of the Elizabeth McMaster building. Now, a newer and wider bridge connection has taken its place. The new bridge will be open to SickKids staff, patients and families in 2023, when the building opens.

We also dismantled two large tower cranes that were no longer needed on the site, which is another sign of the building’s progress.

Here’s a recap of some recent work across the street:

Installing the bridge’s mid-point support piece

The frame of the new bridge is made up of two sections. To connect these two sections and support the bridge from the middle, a support structure was installed. The old bridge had a similar mid-point that was held up by the concrete pillars, visible in the photo below. 

This support piece is located at the mid-point of the bridge.

Assembling and installing the bridge frame

The frame of the bridge, which is like its skeleton, was installed in two sections. The sections were first assembled by crews on the street, and then lifted into place using a mobile crane, teamwork, and precision.

An overhead view of a city street where construction workers are assembling large steel beams into a rectangular structure
The frame being assembled on the street.
A crane on a city street lifts a large rectangular structure made of steal beams
Half of the frame being lifted into place.
A structure made of steel beams that connects to a large building on one end
A view of the interior of the bridge frame, looking towards the hospital Atrium.

Installing the curtainwall

The glass panelling along the bridge is also known as the curtainwall. The individual glass panels were each lifted into place along the bridge’s exterior. When the lights inside the bridge are on, the colours in the glass will be even more vivid!

A construction crane lifts a thin panel of glass into an opening next to other panels of glass
The final pane of the glass curtainwall being lowered into place.
A bridge over a city street, connected to one building on either end. The bridge is made of large panels of clear glass
A view of the bridge from the Elizabeth Street driveway. The Atrium is on the left and the PSC on the right.

Removing the tower cranes

In 2020, two large tower cranes were set up on the PSC site to lift building materials up to the highest floors. Now that construction has reached the highest point on the building, these two cranes are no longer needed on site. The heaviest piece of each crane weighs approximately 9 tonnes (almost 20,000 pounds). To dismantle the cranes, they are brought down to street level by a 600-tonne mobile crane. When this crane is being assembled on the ground, it is almost as long as one city block!

A tall structure made of orange painted metal extends along a city street
The 600-tonne crane being assembled on the street.
On a city street a construction worker stands next to a large rectangular structure made of white painted metal. The structure is the same height as the man
The final piece of one of the tower cranes being lowered to the ground, ready to be removed.

What’s next?

The building’s structure is now complete, so crews will continue to install the curtainwall along the building. Going forward, most of the work will be happening inside the building. This will include installing walls, plumbing, electrical, and more. Work will also continue on the interior of the bridge and the connection to the buildings on either end.

Stay tuned to SickKids Twitter and Instagram for more updates on our progress!

Artist’s rendering of the exterior of the bridge.
Artist’s rendering of the interior of the bridge.
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