North Bay overpassNorth Bay residents bracing for heavy traffic congestion this summer as a result of a planned overhaul of the Lakeshore Drive overpass can breathe a little easier.

Coun. Tanya Vrebosch said Wednesday that the project has been divvied up into two phases, with the work that was expected to affect traffic now slated for next year.

Vrebosch said the decision to break up the project was made following a bidders meeting last week in which all of the firms interested in the project indicated the city’s time line is too aggressive due to the challenge of keeping traffic open during construction.

She said the city had initially hoped to see the entire project, estimated at approximately $5 million, completed this season. The two senior levels of government are each kicking in $1.5 million toward the work.

“They’re going to be doing the underside this year,” said Vrebosch said, noting there may be some minor traffic delays at times, while the Kate Pace Way, which runs beneath the overpass, will be temporarily rerouted.

The project has gone to tender, but a contract has not yet been awarded. Vrebosch said that’s expected to happen soon in order for construction to begin in June.

The overpass was constructed in 1967 and its last major rehabilitation took place in 1990, although limited maintenance and repairs are conducted annually.

The city carried out some repairs in 2012 due to crumbling surface concrete under the overpass, and thousands of dollars were spent in 2011 fixing parts of the bridge deck and joints. In 2007 and 2008 work was completed on bearing seats, abutment piers and caps.

The overhaul is expected to include substructure repairs, new decking with asphalt, sidewalks, guard rails and light standards. And the work will add an estimated 30 more years of life expectancy to the bridge.

Although residents won’t have to deal with traffic congestion associated with project this year, Vrebosch said she is advising the public well in advance that they can expect delays in several areas of the city next summer.

She said some road work is slated to take place on Pinewood Park Drive, along with a redesign of the Seymour-Highway 11 intersection.

Much like the overpass, Vrebosch said that project, which has long been planned, will get underway this year, although the work that will have the most significant impact on traffic is slated for next season.

The first phase is expected to focus on storm sewers and relocating street lights, while the the second phase will widen the intersection and add new traffic signals. The $4-million estimated cost will be shared by the provincial Ministry of Transportation.

Source: North Bay Nugget