Biomass road project nearing completion

Duane Hicks

The reconstruction of Portage Avenue from Nelson Street to First Street East—known as the biomass road project—is close to wrapping up.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown told council Monday night that all of the water and sewer replacement work is now complete, Union Gas has done its upgrades, and curb work started this week.
Some sidewalk still has to be completed, he noted.
Brown said paving on that stretch of Portage Avenue will being soon.
Next Monday (Sept. 21), the intersection of Scott Street and Portage Avenue will be closed for one day to remove the asphalt, put down granular material, and then pave it.
He added the work is a little behind schedule—the entire job was supposed to be done by Sept. 18—but noted five days were lost to weather. Otherwise, the job is continuing to go as planned.
Brown reminded the public that work on the biomass road project will continue next year, with reconstruction of Portage Avenue from First Street East to Third Street East, and then Fifth Street to Sixth Street.
Both these stretches of road will be done at the same time.
Bay City Contractors will be storing materials at the old high school parking lot over the winter.
Meanwhile, the Portage Avenue underpass was paved and re-opened on Sept. 2. Since then, JTJ Contracting has worked to correct seven deficiencies, including fencing and damage to one of the abutment walls.
Line painting will be done in the next week or so.
In other news, the asphalt has been ground up at Central Avenue and the 100 block of Scott Street. The asphalt laid by the subcontractor, JTJ Contracting, last year didn’t meet the specifications for HL4 asphalt product, and must be removed and re-laid.
The new asphalt will be laid next week.
This is the second time the asphalt was replaced on phase one of the Central Avenue reconstruction project.
As well, the town took the in-ground fuel tank out at the Sorting Gap Marina last week in anticipation of putting in the new above-ground tank next spring.
New library, waterfront
The foundation for the new Fort Frances Public Library and Technology Centre has been completed, Community Services manager George Bell told council Monday night.
Plumbers and electricians currently are on site doing preliminary work on the slab.
Other crews are excavating and backfilling the new parking lot, and the curbs for the parking lot were expected to be poured today.
The parking lot is expected to be paved prior to winter.
The steel was scheduled to arrive yesterday, and it will start to go up in about two weeks, Bell noted.
According to the original schedule, the work is about two weeks behind. And some amendments will have to be made to that schedule as there will be some jobs that can’t be done once the cold weather comes.
As for the waterfront projects, Bell said four sections of the lookout tower have been relocated to the new site just east of the Sorting Gap Marina, and that the base has been installed on the foundation there.
Workers will be here next week to install the stairs, 25-foot deck, and railings.
The tower and cupola have been painted, but cupola still has to have the red steel siding installed onto it.
Landscaping there is proceeding ahead of schedule.
Meanwhile, “The Hallett” has been installed on its cradle, and a crew currently is installing a ramp and railings at that site.
Banners and signage integral to the Heritage Tourism Plan have been ordered and will be installed in the first couple of weeks of October.
Bell said work on the waterfront projects should be completed by Thanksgiving.