Caution: Road work ahead for Fort Frances

Last year was a slow one for many, because of the constraints of COVID-19, but it has been quite busy for Travis Rob, operations and facilities manager. Rob said they have a lot of road work planed for Fort Frances, some of which they are finishing up from last summer.

Rob said they will be finishing up the reconstruction of Scott Street from Colonization Road East to Reid Avenue. This will entail the final lift of asphalt, final line painting and then some miscellaneous deficiency repairs.

Also from last year, the completion of Colonization Road West from Riverview Cemetery to Armstrong place. Again, this is going to be the final lift of asphalt and then dressing up deficiencies and finishing touches.

“For Scott Street it will probably be two and a half days and for Colonization Road we should be able to get it wrapped up in a day for the actual portion,” Rob said. “In all for both projects, probably a month’s work. Both of those projects that started last year, we got to the lion’s share of the work in 2020 so it’s just finishing touches.”

As for 2021, King’s Highway is set to undergo some changes. The project was awarded in 2020 and tendered later that same year but work will finally happen this year, Rob said. The highway will be reconstructed from Pit Road #1 to Pit Road #2.

“It’s not necessarily a full road reconstruction like we typically would see but it is a widening project,” Rob said. “We’ll be widening that stretch of the highway to four lanes, new storm sewer system, curb and gutter, new asphalt, driveway entrances, doing a little bit of water work.”

Rob said there is no sanitary sewer in that area so they will do some water work but it is primarily road reconstruction. Rob said material is on site and it is now a matter of working with the contractor once the snow is gone and the frost is out of the ground.

The final phase of Erin Crescent development will also be underway this year. Rob said all of the utilities have been installed and they will be placing the final roadway granular, the curb and gutter and the asphalt. Rob said he is hoping to have it completed by September.

Work typically starts early in May, Rob said, adding that the mild winter and now the possible shift into a mild spring might see construction starting earlier this year. Despite the possibility of an earlier start, Rob said they usually wait until the summer to finish the asphalt because it lays nicer, making for a smoother driving surface.

Until the construction season can begin, Rob said he will be putting the finishing touches on their roadworks tender for 2021 without consultants, adding that they will be tendering for the reconstruction of Armit Avenue from Church Street to Scott Street this year.

“That will be a full road reconstruction, sewer, water, storm sewer, curb and gutter, sidewalk, and asphalt,” Rob Said. “It’s going to be a few months’ worth of work.”

In addition to that, Rob said they have the second phase reconstruction of King’s Highway from Pit Road #1 to Oakwood Road. He adds that they are tendering for that but that it is dependent on funding, which they have not heard back about yet.

The construction of a sidewalk along Keating Avenue from JW Walker School North to Second Street will finally take place this year. The project is a partnership between the Town of Fort Frances, the Rainy River District School Board and the Northwest Catholic District School Board.

“All three parties have pooled their resources together to get that project done which I’m looking forward to, it’s been a long overdue project,” Rob said.

Until the fun can start in a few months, Rob said they are in the organization stage. At the end of the month, they will start to talk about schedules with their contractors as well as have some pre construction meetings before getting started.

By Natali Trivuncic
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter