As the old joke goes, Canada’s seasons are: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction. The reality isn’t far off, and it’s likely to feel even moreso later this year when major construction on Huntsville’s main thoroughfare is slated to begin. Town and District staff are hoping to ease the pain a bit by condensing the proposed construction duration from a four-year spread to two.
In a report presented at the November 21 General Committee meeting, Town staff noted that there are four major projects planned for Main Street and King William Street between Lorne Street and Highway 60 in the next four years.
Those projects, assuming all receive budget approvals at the Town and District levels, are:
-Main Street between Lorne and the swing bridge, planned for 2019-2020: District water, sewer and storm water system replacement and the Town of Huntsville streetscape project;
-Main Street/King William between the swing bridge and Scott Street, planned for 2020: District water, sewer and storm water system replacement, a sewage pipe connection from Golden Pheasant to Mountview to accommodate the decommissioning of the Mountview sewage plant, and sidewalk installation on the north side of Main street from the swing bridge to Chaffey Street;
-King William between Scott Street and Highway 60, planned for 2021: District road resurfacing; and
-Swing bridge rehabilitation, planned for 2022.
Following a review of those plans, Town and District staff are proposing a condensed and combined two-year schedule to ease traffic congestion and disruption to businesses and the public. The revised plan would have all of the work needed between the swing bridge and Highway 60 done in 2019, provided design documents can be completed in time, while Main Street work between Lorne Street and the swing bridge, including the streetscape project and the bridge rehabilitation, would occur in 2020.
In response to a question from Mayor Scott Aitchison about road closures and the possibility of round-the-clock work, Mark Misko, Director of Engineering and Transportation for the District of Muskoka, said that the intent is to keep one lane of traffic passable throughout construction as much as possible, though he didn’t discount the possibility of occasional road closures particularly in the section from Lorne Street to the swing bridge where there is less room available.
“We had a really good meeting with the BIA and a lot of those issues came to light. July and August are critical seasons for the businesses downtown, weekends is a sweet spot of businesses in that area that they depend on,” said Misko. “We talked about extended (construction) hours. There was discussion about contract performance bonuses for early completion…so that’s all on the table right now.”
If approved, work would commence in late spring or early summer of 2019.
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