Short-term pain for long-term gain might be the best description for a major reconstruction of one of Oshawa, Ont.’s busiest streets.
Rather than spread out construction over a number of years, Durham Region has completely closed a 750-metre-long section of Simcoe Street from Rossland Road to Robert Street for a $3.6-million rehabilitation.
The street was closed in April and Durham Region project manager Ben McWade said it won't be reopened until mid-October when the project is scheduled for completion.
Eagleson Construction is the general contractor and the consultant is GHD.
More than 25,000 vehicles use that stretch daily, including one of Durham Region's busiest transit routes connecting downtown Oshawa with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology/Durham College about four kilometres away.
Drivers now have to follow a designated detour route along Rossland, Ritson and Taunton Roads before returning to Simcoe Street.
Notice of the detour was circulated to residents and businesses prior to construction and the route is being constantly monitored by public works staff in case changes are needed, says McWade.
Additional signs have been installed on adjacent side streets and police have been monitoring those areas to ensure they aren't being used for shortcuts, he says.
"Due to the nature of the work, there was not enough room to maintain traffic and complete all of the work without staging it over multiple years," says McWade, when asked the reasons for a full closure of the road rather than a partial one. Other factors included worker and driver safety.
The project is a rehabilitation consisting of a full road excavation with a new granular road base, surface and base asphalt. The rebuilt road will consist of 500 millimetres of Granular B, 200 millimetres of Granular A, 120 millimetres of heavy duty binder course asphalt and a 50-millimetre-deep asphalt wearing course, he says.
It's also an "all encompassing" undertaking that includes replacing underground storm and sanitary sewers and watermains, plus constructing new curbs and sidewalks as well as the installation of new traffic signals at Robert Street.
Although the lanes are being widened slightly to improve driver safety, no actual widening of the road is being undertaken.
"We're not increasing capacity," McWade says.
No environmental assessment was required as the project is being undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act which applies to routine municipal projects that have predictable and manageable environmental effects, he adds.
The need for the project was identified in the region's 2015 capital road program, with the design being completed in 2016.
Although the work is intense, there have been no significant construction challenges and no environmental constraints, he says.
And despite the significant amount of rain which blanketed much of Ontario this spring and summer, "the contractor has managed to stay on schedule and we are planning to complete the work in October."