Main Street rebuild to cause major traffic disruptions

on .

Northbound traffic to be detoured during two-year reconstruction project

Laura Mueller, Ottawa Community News

Motorists can expect significant traffic impacts when Main Street is reconstructed over the next two years to replace century-old water and sewer infrastructure.

Plans revealed at an open house on Nov. 20 show the main artery in Old Ottawa East will be closed to northbound traffic between Greenfield and Riverdale avenues in the first phase of construction starting next spring. There will be one northbound lane available for local traffic only from Riverdale to Clegg Street.

In the second construction phase, no northbound traffic at all will be allowed on Main between Greenfield and Riverdale.

The open house on Nov. 20 was well-attended and people had a lot of questions, said John Dance, president of the Old Ottawa East Community Association.

“The construction will be very disruptive but it's the price we have to pay to have modern water and sewer lines and a safe, friendly street,” Dance said.

The construction will lead to a host of important and long-awaited improvements for the neighbourhood, Dance said. Main Street itself will get the addition of bicycle lanes in the form of raised cycle tracks – a useful addition as the community just outside the downtown swells with the development of 10 hectares of institutional land formerly occupied by the Oblate fathers, Dance said.

The street rebuilding is also creating an opportunity for the city and the National Capital Commission to work together to create a safe pedestrian crossing at Colonel By Drive and Clegg by adding a traffic signal. It’s something residents in the area have been requesting for 30 years, Dance said.

The Brantwood Memorial Gates, which are on their last legs, will also be rebuilt as part of the project, Dance said.

But right now, the focus is on the short-term pain that will result in the long-term gain.

“There remain lots of questions and issues but from what we've seen so far city staff (has) been accommodating in trying to minimize adverse impacts on residents and businesses,” Dance said.

The construction is set to wrap up in the summer of 2017, but the duration of each construction phase hasn’t been determined. Final plans will be presented at another open house in the spring, once a contractor is hired.

The northbound restrictions are not the only snarls for drivers. Sections of Main Street at its north and south ends – between Hawthorne and Lees Avenue and between Riverdale and Clegg – will be reduced to one lane travelling in each direction.

Only local traffic is planned to be allowed on the south section of Main, from the Smyth Road side of the McIlraith Bridge to around Elliot, and the north block between Greenfield and Colonel By.

Northbound bus detours are still being determined and the city is asking for suggestions from the public.

Drivers heading downtown will either be rerouted west on Clegg either to Glenora Street, Hazel Street and Echo Drive, or onto Colonel By Drive, depending on whether the National Capital Commission gives its permission for the second option. Drivers will then head west on Graham to reconnect with Main Street.

Utility work

Some construction is already underway related to utilities. Bell Canada is replacing its underground ducts.

The work involves removing the surface above the duct, which includes sidewalks, grass and roadway in some areas.

Temporary lane reductions have already begun between Hawthorne and Greenfield, but long-term lane closures were set to begin on Nov. 22. One lane in each direction will be closed between Lees and Clegg due to the work being done through the winter under snowy conditions, according to Josée Vallée, the city’s project manager for Main Street.

Temporary asphalt will be used to patch up the work until the full construction project begins.