Underpass may open to one lane next week

Duane Hicks

As work on the Portage Avenue underpass nears completion, there’s a good chance the street will be re-opened to one lane of traffic sometime next week.
In a report to the council at Monday night’s regular meeting, transportation superintendent Milt Strachan said all of the concrete slabs were completed as of Aug. 21 and the seven-day curing period is now underway.
Recent testing on the roadway is indicating it is close to being able to handle traffic load, he added.
Strachan said representatives from the town, contractor, and engineering consultant will be meeting this week and making decisions as to when the west lane will re-open to traffic—and what steps will be taken to proceed with the final stages of the project.
He added the contractor expects to start putting down asphalt on Monday.
“We’re expecting to have a paved roadway next week and traffic on it,” CAO Mark McCaig added.
In the meantime, curb work is being done this week, and manholes and catch basins are being brought up to the finished grade.
On Monday, crews began cutting the east abutment wall. They have to form a flat ledge along the face of that wall so they can bring the face of that abutment out to match the retaining walls.
Strachan noted while the closure of the underpass has been inconvenient to north-end residents and others, including the town itself, it was necessary to do so the concrete work could get done safely and efficiently.
If travel had been allowed to go through in the past few weeks, work would not have got done as quickly as it has.
McCaig echoed that sentiment, noting the closure has been “painful” but the work probably would be going on until the end of October if the underpass hadn’t been completely closed to traffic in recent weeks.
Biomass project
Meanwhile, Strachan said work is moving along very well on the biomass roads project, and that the affected roads in the Portage Avenue-Church Street-Scott Street area should be fully re-opened to traffic on Sept. 18.
On the stretch of Portage Avenue from Nelson Street to Church, the underground work (water, sewer, and storm sewer) has been completed as well as the granular ‘A’ level.
On the stretch of Portage Avenue from Church Street to Scott, the underground work and the granular ‘A’ level have been completed.
The Scott Street intersection was completed and re-opened to traffic Aug. 11, which was well within the timeframe the contractor had given to the downtown businesses.
On the stretch of Portage Avenue from Scott to First Street East, the underground work is now complete with the exception of a tie for the watermain at First and Portage, which was to be completed yesterday.
And at the intersection of Third Street East and Portage Avenue, the sanitary sewer has been installed.
The patch where that work was done will be paved along with the asphalt for the rest of the underpass.
Work also continues at the Nelson Street parking lot, with landscaping work to start next week.
Concrete work (i.e., sidewalks and curbing) to be done in the vicinity of the reconstructed roads will take place Sept. 8-11, followed by asphalt work from Sept. 14-18, after which time the affected roads will be re-opened.
While there may be some brick work and landscaping to do after that, Strachan said this shouldn’t affect traffic.