By Dan Rankin
During his presentation as part of the Town-hosted Industry Breakfast at the St. Marys Golf Course and Country Club Wednesday morning, St. Marys CAO Brent Kittmer gave a run down of four “key projects” for the Town this year, including the one that’s currently underway downtown: the Queen Street reconstruction.
It will be some relief for St. Marys citizens living in residential neighbourhoods to learn that no dedicated truck detour will be needed during road work. “The contractor has done this job in three other locations and they’ve found that with their methods, they can provide enough space for truck traffic to pass, and have it be east/west with one lane in each direction,” Kittmer said. “We didn’t want to take an approach where we took truck traffic through residential areas. It was felt that leaving it on the arterial road, if they can fit, is the best option.”
However, the Town is requesting that, during the construction, industries “encourage your logistics employees and hauling companies to schedule trucks enter and exit the Town on a route that avoids the downtown core,” while avoiding “the use of shortcut detours through residential neighbourhoods.”
For other residents, Kittmer cautioned that “during construction hours, the contractor will be putting up temporary signage to limit turns off of Queen Street.”
“On Queen Street especially, it will be straight through traffic,” he said, adding that, at times, “there will be no left or right turns onto Queen Street from the side streets. It will be a by-the-day decision as the contractor is doing work. But they are flexible. They understand the need for traffic to move through St. Marys safely and they’ll make all efforts to make sure that happens.”
Describing the work being done, Kittmer said it is “largely a road reconstruction and infrastructure-focused project” driven by water service replacements. The total project cost is $2.2 million, though the construction tender was awarded at “just over $1.8 million.” The current schedule, which has been “stretched out longer” than originally thought, would see work in the downtown core completed by July 8, with work from Church Street to Peel Street commencing after that. Work from Water Street to Thomas Street – as well as the Victoria Bridge rehabilitation – will finish by about mid-September, he said.
With the project, the Town hopes to address deteriorating water service, rehabilitate asphalt on Queen Street and reconstruct sidewalks with an eye towards accessibility. “We’re taking this opportunity to make as many of the storefronts accessible as we can,” he said. “We’re going to try to match the grade of the sidewalk to the entryway of the storefronts.”
Intersections will also be made accessible, he added, calling it a “big change” for the Town. “Our intersections will now also be fully [Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act] compliant with audible signalization, and the tactile pads on the ground so people can feel where the intersection is.”