With Main Street construction anticipated to start on March 1, 2021, the Town of Huntsville’s director of operations and protective services, Steve Hernen, provided a construction and detour overview for Huntsville General Committee on Dec. 16.
The work will be completed in five stages. During each stage, there will be an active construction zone as well as a passive zone to be used for material and equipment storage.
“One block they’re working in, one block they’re storing stuff in, and they will progress up through the town,” said Hernen.
Signage at roads leading to the downtown core will indicate that businesses remain open, and electronic boards will notify drivers of detours.
Throughout construction, the contractor—which should be selected by January 11, 2021—will be required to maintain pedestrian access to all properties adjacent to the work site, with some short-duration restrictions to access permitted, as well as hard-surfaced pedestrian walkways on both sides of the street, Hernen noted in his report to committee.
Stage 1 of construction is expected to run from Mar. 1-May 30, 2021, with active construction from east of the swing bridge to Brunel Rd. The area from Brunel to West St. will be used as a passive zone for materials and equipment during that time. Westbound and eastbound traffic will detour to the north of the construction area along Chaffey St./West Rd. and Centre St. Traffic heading north or south will be directed between Brunel Rd. and Centre St. along Veterans Way.
Construction will then progress westward on the following anticipated timeline:
• Stage 2, June 1-July 30, 2021, active construction zone from Brunel to West St., passive zone from West to Centre. Both east and westbound traffic will detour along Veterans Way between Brunel Rd. and Centre St.
• Stage 3, Aug. 1-Sept. 30, 2021, active zone from West to Centre; passive zone from Centre to Lorne. North and southbound traffic on Centre Street will remain open. Detours will utilize Brunel Rd., Veterans Way, Minerva St. W, Caroline St. W, and Lorne St.
• Stage 4, Oct. 1-Nov. 30, 2021, active zone from Centre to Lorne; passive zone from West to Centre. North and southbound traffic on Centre Street will remain open. Detours will utilize Brunel, Veterans Way, Minerva St. W, Caroline St. W, and Lorne St.
• Stage 5, May 1-30, 2022, surface asphalt from the swing bridge to Lorne St. Traffic will be controlled by rotating roadblocks, said Hernen, as well as detours utilizing Brunel Rd., Veterans Way, Lansdowne St. W, Lorne St., and Caroline St.
Hernen said that signage will also direct traffic heading from Main St. W to the south of town along Yonge St. and Townline Rd. W to Brunel Rd. “Anybody coming out Brunel Road that simply wants to get to Highway 11 will be directed out that route as well.”
Lorne St. in the construction area may become a no-parking, tow-away zone during the construction period. “There’s a few parking spots. It could cause problems for vehicle traffic coming in, especially vehicles pulling trailers or large trucks,” said Hernen.
With the construction zone so near Huntsville Public School, it will be up to the contractor to provide safe crossing for students, he noted. “They will have to put additional staff on place to assist our crossing guards to make sure it’s always safe to the travelling public.”
See all of the detour and zone maps here (PDF).
Available parking will be communicated at a later time.
Hernen said that they have avoided running detours along Minerva, Mary, Princess and Caroline Streets for the most part because “the BIA is looking to use those streets for off-street parking to assist them, and they are using that for their event space, if you will… We’ve kept a wide berth around that area.” It will also allow for some downtown events, COVID guidelines permitting, on those streets and in River Mill Park.
Councillor Brian Thompson asked how confident staff were with the infrastructure work that needs to be completed underground, given surprises encountered during the recent King William St. construction.
“Last summer there was a complete x-ray of Main Street to make sure they could see what was underground,” said Hernen, adding that they’ve addressed as many possible unknowns as they can within the contract. “One of the biggest lessons we learned from King William too was trying to maintain traffic in a work zone, and that’s one of the key differences in this. We’ve sacrificed the vehicle traffic to give the contractor the work zone he needs so he can get this job done in one year.”
In response to a question from Mayor Karin Terziano, Hernen noted that traffic lights will be adjusted for optimal traffic flow, but there are limitations at West Road because those lights are not as modern.
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