Hiccups are expected, but two-way traffic flow will be maintained on King Street, at least for the next few weeks.
That was the main message delivered by city staff at a public open house last Thursday.
About 50 people attended the open forum hosted by Ward 9 councillor Doug Conley at the Nash Jackson House in Battlefield Park. The historic site is located a stone’s throw from the $6.5-million project, which got underway on April 13.
Dennis Perusin, city project manager, said King will remain open for two-way traffic until mid-July, when detour routes come into play.
Currently, workers have begun installing new water mains on the north side of King Street, beginning at Battlefield Drive.
In consultation with the contractor, Westroc Construction of Stoney Creek, Perusin said the water mains can be installed from Battlefield to the intersection of Elm Avenue without forcing a road closure.
Instead of a four-month road shutdown, Perusin said the new traffic plan will allow continued access to businesses from King. He acknowledged the construction will temporarily displace most of the existing on-street parking.
“It’ll keep the downtown core alive, and get everybody in and out…Right now, that’s still the plan. I apologize to those of you who need your Tim Hortons fix and can’t pull over right away. We’re trying to get through as quick as we can.”
By July 15, the city plans to close King Street at the bridge near Elm Avenue. Perusin said the closure is necessary to allow the contractor to excavate around the bridge and install the necessary upgrades.
That’s when things get a little more complicated.
From mid-July until late September, westbound traffic on King will be rerouted along Jones Street and Mountain Avenue North, where drivers may turn left and then right to access King Street.
At the same time, King will be closed at Lake to eastbound traffic. Perusin said pedestrian access will be maintained constantly on King. One sidewalk, on either the north or south side, will be left untouched. Workers will install an eight-foot high modular fence to show pedestrians where they can safely walk. Openings will allow pedestrians to cross the street at Mountain and Lake avenues. A cloth filter and liquid calcium chloride solution will help control dust.
Perusin promised that business owners and residents will receive ample warning before water service is shut down.
“We normally will come canvas the area before we do a water main shutdown. You will receive a notice in advance telling you from this time to this time, the water will be turned off for us to do the work,” he told the meeting.
Perusin said shutdowns can be scheduled for off-peak hours to minimize the impact on businesses.
Meanwhile, residents of Second Street North announced at the meeting they’ve experienced a five-fold increase in traffic since the King Street project began. The residential street allows drivers to access multiple detour routes, like Highway 8, Mountain Avenue North and Collegiate Avenue. Residents said temporary speed humps should be installed to lower the speed of traffic in the area.
City staff were cool to the idea, however, arguing drivers might speed up between the speed humps, in frustration.
When the King Street project is complete, the Stoney Creek BIA is expected to receive a new streetscape, with decorative light standards and urban Braille for the visually impaired. The Rotary Community Parkette at King and Jones streets will include a new gateway feature, paying tribute to the Battle of Stoney Creek, with the flag of Canada set between granite columns. Once the roadwork is complete, the gateway feature is expected to be installed.
Conley noted another major construction project along King Street is expected to close the intersection of King and Centennial Parkway for four to five weekends in July and August. The two-year project on Centennial between Barton and King streets involves the replacement of sewers, the installation of a new trunk water main and a full road reconstruction. It is slated for completion this fall.
Conley said detour routes must be established ahead of time to help motorists around the closure.
“We’ll have to coordinate something. We can’t leave anybody out to dry,” he said.
The King Street reconstruction is expected to be complete by late-November or early December.
Source: The Hamilton Spectator