King Street and Victoria intersection will open for traffic Friday afternoon
More than $2 billion in private development has been invested alongside the 19 kilometer route
After more than two years of construction at the King and Victoria streets intersection in downtown Kitchener, traffic will once again be able to flow smoothly from one side of King Street to the other as of Friday afternoon.
The grade separation, located west of the intersection, has been one of the most anticipated sections of the city's ION project, and also one if its longest-running construction zones.
It opened to pedestrian traffic nearly a month ago.
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Previously, rail tracks crossed over King Street and traffic was stopped any time a train came through that part of the city. Now the road has been lowered; GO trains, VIA rail trains and freight trains will run over the road while vehicle traffic and ION trains will run underneath.
King at the Grade Separation opens on Friday, here's a quick video re-cap of changes in the area since work began: <a href="https://t.co/Bkn4MgbMHl">https://t.co/Bkn4MgbMHl</a>—@rideIONrt
The area is a key connection point for the region; it borders the future transit hub that will bring together multiple modes of transportation including Grand River Transit buses, GO Transit and Via Rail.
It's also close to large organizations like the University of Waterloo's School of Pharmacy, the new Google headquarters and residential developments like One Victoria.
More than $700 million in private investment has gone into development near the grade separation, Tom Galloway, chair of the Region of Waterloo's planning and works committee told CBC News.
And since the LRT was approved in 2011, more than $2 billion in private development has gone in alongside the full 19 kilometer route from Fairway Park Mall in Kitchener to Conestoga Mall in Waterloo.
"This is developers who have purchased properties, typically high rise apartments and condominiums with commercial spaces," said Galloway. "This is what the LRT was intended for."
"While [the LRT] moves people, it's really intended to [get] developers to invest along the route and create more residential corridor."
There will be a ceremonial opening of the road at 4 p.m. on Friday.