Monday, March 12, 2012

Bloor Viaduct from Don Valley

This massive structure crosses the Don Valley, several spans of steel rest on giant concrete supports. As a bonus this baby has a pair of Bloor-Danforth subway tracks right under the road surface. Officially it is known  as the Prince Edward Viaduct, but everyone calls it the Bloor Viaduct, which is weird because most people should know it as a bridge - like the Bloor Bridge. Viaduct (I looked it up) is a Latin word for bridge made with several small spans. A recent addition to the bridge in 2003 is the suicide barrier which cost $5.5 million (looks like a series of crosses and is called the Luminous Veil) and runs along both edges of the bridge which helps to prevent people from jumping the 40m (131ft) to the valley floor below. The crosses support steel rods which are closely spaced to stop people from passing through while not hindering the view to any considerable degree.
BMJ reviewed the bridge, which was know for having the second highest rate of suicide (just behind the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco), to determine if the barrier has reduced suicides in Toronto. Apparantly Toronto jumping suicides have remained steady, although none have occured at the Bloor Viaduct since the installation of the barrier. Their summary "After the barrier the annual rate of suicides by jumping from bridges other than Bloor Street Viaduct increased significantly."
The bridge also has signs and telephones on Bloor Street for people in crisis who may be contemplating suicide: Distress Centre - We listen 24 hours a day (416) 408-HELP (4357). 

See more concrete and steel bridge pictures below.

A silver TTC subway passes along under Bloor Road
The steel Arches support the bridge deck
Crossing over Bayview Avenue

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