While the project is getting closer to completion, the Portage Avenue underpass will remain completely closed to all traffic, including emergency vehicles, through next Friday (Aug. 28), after which time the west lane may be re-opened to vehicles.
In an e-mail late yesterday, the town’s Superintendent of Transportation Milt Strachan said the forming and pouring of the concrete lane slabs has gone “very well, even with the inclement weather last week,” and now is completed on both the west and east lanes.
He added seven days of cure time is now required for the newly-placed concrete so it can gain the strength needed to support traffic loads once it’s re-opened.
“Next week, during this curing period, the concrete curbs will be poured on both sides of the roadway and some additional concrete work will be done to the east abutment,” Strachan noted.
“Manholes and catch basins will be raised to their final elevations.”
Strachan said representatives from the town, contractor, and engineering consultant will be making decisions early next week 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.
This information will be passed on to the public as soon as these decisions are finalized.
In the meantime, the new west side pedestrian walkway will continue to be open at all times while motorists will have to keep using McIrvine Road to travel to and from the north end of town.
As well, emergency vehicles will have to use either McIrvine Road or the Victoria Avenue emergency crossing.
The fire department will continue to co-ordinate the use of the Victoria Avenue emergency railway crossing with other emergency agencies.
The fire department also has placed two emergency vehicles in the north end area to compensate for the closure and assure a quick response to any incidents that may take place during this period.
In related news, the Nelson Street and Victoria Avenue sections of the normal truck route are now open.
As such, the town is requesting all heavy truck traffic use this route to alleviate some of the congestion in the downtown and central areas of the community, as well as to help the additional east/west traffic caused by the underpass closure move more freely with less delays.