The Portage Avenue underpass is scheduled to be re-opened to two lanes of traffic this Friday (Sept. 4)— just in time for the Labour Day weekend.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said late Friday that this is seven weeks earlier than initially forecasted.
“[This] week is only the eighth week of construction during 2009 . . . the contractor and engineering firm have done a great job in moving the project forward towards an earlier completion,” he remarked.
The underpass will continue to be completely closed to all through traffic, including emergency vehicles, through this Wednesday in order to place the final lift of asphalt over the concrete roadway slabs.
During this time, motorists will have to keep using McIrvine Road to access the north end of town.
Emergency vehicles will have to use either McIrvine Road or the Victoria Avenue emergency railway crossing.
The fire department will be co-ordinating the use of the Victoria Avenue emergency railway crossing with other emergency agencies.
It also has placed two emergency vehicles in the north end to compensate for the closure and assure a quick response to any incidents that may take place during this period.
Then on Thursday, the underpass will be re-opened to one lane of traffic for all public and emergency vehicles.
And on Friday, all temporary traffic barriers, traffic signals, and signs will be removed, and the underpass will be completely open with two lanes of traffic.
“In other words, substantial completion of the project is scheduled to be achieved sometime on Friday, Sept. 4,” said Brown.
Besides the roadway, crews will be completing the installation of the new handrails along the west side sidewalk and the installation of the rock guard on top of the east side retaining wall tomorrow through Thursday.
At the same time, they’ll adjust the earth slope along the backside of the east curb, Brown explained.
Assuming the weather co-operates and everything goes according to plan, Brown expects he will be sending out a final construction progress update this Friday once both lanes are re-opened.
He noted there are two outstanding tasks related to the underpass reconstruction job that must be completed in the near future, but these will take place off the roadway.
These include the installation of perimeter fencing along the Portage Avenue right-of-way property lines and upgrades to the pump house, which is in the design stage.