Your Guide to this Year’s Roundabout Construction on Ottawa Street

This post was written by Graham Jeffery, who works with the Alpine Community Neighbourhood Association. Thanks, Graham!

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We had a meeting tonight with neighbours from ACNA and the Country Hills Rec. Assoc. to see a presentation from Wayne Cheater, Senior Project Manager with the Region of Waterloo.

He described the process of building the roundabouts at the intersection of Ottawa/Alpine and Ottawa/Homer Watson…

Construction firms are now invited to bid on the project, and the winning firm will be selected by Regional Council on March 22nd.

Phase 1: April to May (5 weeks) – A temporary Ottawa Street bypass road will be built between the Ottawa/Alpine intersection to a point just beyond the east side of the Ottawa/Homer Watson intersection. It will have 2 lanes in each direction, with a sidewalk. It will be to the north of the existing/future Ottawa Street. During this time, the current roads continue to be used.

Phase 2: May to August – Ottawa street traffic is diverted onto the temporary road, and roundabout construction takes place.

During this time, access to Ottawa Street from Alpine, and from Homer Watson south of Ottawa, is cut off, except that access will be maintained for eastbound traffic on Ottawa Street to turn right onto Alpine Road. To get to businesses/homes south of Ottawa Street, you come off the detour route. This route is 1) Strasburg, from Ottawa south to Block Line   2) Block Line, from Strasburg east to Courtland   3) Courtland, from Block Line, north to Ottawa.

Phase 3: Short period in August. The temporary road experiences lane reductions as permanent roadway construction proceeds.

Phase 4: September. Permanent roadway and roundabouts open with lane reductions while final work is done. The temporary road is removed.

October: New roadway is fully operational.

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Other notes:

– Certain sections of the roads and roundabouts will be constructed to 3 lanes.

– There is currently an on-ramp to eastbound Highway 7/8 from southbound Homer Watson, which is accessed north of the Ottawa/Homer Watson intersection. That ramp will close. A new on-ramp to the eastbound 7/8 will start at the new Ottawa/Alpine roundabout. The current on-ramp to eastbound 7/8 from eastbound Ottawa Street (starting east of the Ottawa/Homer Watson intersection) will be unchanged.

– One feature that is new to these roundabouts will be large easy-to-see overhead signs placed well ahead of each roundabout directing motorists to the correct lane

– We had thought that there would be another public meeting before construction started, but the Region of Waterloo has held these in the past and they have not been well attended. They currently do not plan another meeting, unless there is a demand.

– The speed limits along this stretch of road are not yet determined.

– There will be a full set of sidewalks and crossings built. The crossings will be much like the ones at the Homer Watson/Block Line roundabout. Ontario law has changed so that the crosswalks at all roundabouts will have yield signs (drivers yield to pedestrians) instead of crosswalk signs. Some of the paths will be paved extra-wide Community Trails.

– Construction of these roundabouts was delayed for years due to 1) the widening of Highway 7/8 and 2) ION rapid transit construction. Acquisition of private land also took over two years.

– While it seems like a long construction time, using a temporary road speeds up construction considerably.

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