Council hears overpass concerns

Sam Odrowski

The town has heard residents’ comments about delays due to construction work on the overpass here and has been making adjustments to lessen them.
“The contractors have made numerous adjustments to the signal timing and that seems to be improving the flow of the traffic through the job site,” Operations and Facilities manager Travis Rob said in a verbal update about the construction at last night’s council meeting.
“We’re continually watching this and evaluating any other changes that we might make to the construction to help alleviate some congestion,” he added.
Since making adjustments to the signal timing, Rob has noticed a significant decrease in congestion.
“I was there today [Monday] from 3:30 [p.m.] until about 5:20 [p.m.] and the traffic flow was very good,” he told council.
“The longest queue that I saw was just about to First Street and that would have definitely been cleared all through with one light cycle,” Rob noted.
The town has heard comments from locals about re-routing traffic via Williams Avenue and Eighth Street or along Calder Drive, but does not believe that is a better option.
“I’d just like to make the point that we see over 30 trains a day that are crossing those crossings and they have to stop and clear customs, which usually takes about 45 minutes but can be in excess of that,” Rob said.
“So allowing motorists down those roads, I think, would further the delays much more than the traffic signals do.
“We have those roads closed and they will remain that way through the construction,” he stressed.
The exception will be on Canada Day, when Calder Drive will be open to allow for easier access to Point Park.
As for emergency services, Rob has met with the Fort Frances Fire Department, the OPP, Treaty #3 Police, local ambulance, and the hospital to get feedback on protocols.
He assured council they have protocols in place to make sure emergency vehicles get through the construction site as quickly as possible.
In related news, both Nelson Street and Second Street East recently received their final asphalt paving.
The town has placed just over 232 tons on Nelson Street and 311 tons on Second Street.
“That was the final works for those road sections, with some deficiency work to be cleaned up through the summer,” Rob said.
Over on Third Street East, meanwhile, the town recently replaced 215 metres of 300mm watermain.
As well, it has removed and replaced one fire hydrant set, as well as removed and replaced 23.5 metres of 315mm storm sewer pipe.
Council thanked the public for their patience and understanding during the overpass construction, which is scheduled to be finished in mid-October.
“As with any construction project, it’s going to be painful and we appreciate your patience, and hopefully we’ve worked out most of the bugs at this point,” said Coun. Wendy Brunetta.