Underpass work nears end for this year

Duane Hicks

Progress is being made on the Portage Avenue underpass reconstruction, with the road expected to be restored to two lanes of traffic by mid-November, Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown told council last night.
The underpass was scheduled to be shut down today from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. to pour concrete on the southeast retaining wall.
All the east retaining wall footings are done on the north and south side, and the wall portion is being worked on, added Brown. Concrete work on the retaining walls should be done by the end of October.
In the past three weeks, all the rebar was installed in all portions of the project, and all the soil anchors are in.
The north side waterline has been pressure-tested and chlorinated and the town is waiting for water sample tests to come back from the lab.
Brown noted the sidewalk on the west side of the underpass will continue to be gravel through the winter, and won’t be widened and paved until work resumes next spring.
In related news, Brown thanked the Fort Frances Power Corp. for sandblasting and painting the light posts along the waterfront this past summer.
Also at last night’s meeting, council referred requests by the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce at the Sept. 22 budget meeting for marketing funds, watering flower baskets, and funds to hire an intern to research a destination marketing fee to the 2009 budget process.
They also discussed the issue of assisted living accommodations as requested by two local residents—June Caul and Dino D’Agostini—to be included in the 2009 budget.
Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig noted the subject also has come up in the town’s strategic planning, as well as at the recent condo development meeting, and said the town is interested in following up on it.
However, the project falls outside what municipalities handle.
Since such a facility likely would fall under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, and possibly would be built on the property next to Rainycrest, mayor and council agreed to write a letter to Wayne Woods, the CEO of Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc., to see if he would be interested in discussing it further.