Residents and businesses in Uptown Waterloo will be the first to experience road restrictions and closures as construction of the ION light rail transit system gets underway in the area on Sept. 8. 

Grandlinq, the company responsible for the design, construction, maintenance and operation of the light rail system, says construction activities begin as early as Aug. 11, but have yet to affect traffic. However, on Sept. 8, the company says it will begin tearing up the asphalt on Caroline Street between Erb Street and Allen Street.

Company spokesperson Marty Harris says that crews will be replacing existing infrastructure like water mains and storm drains, as well as moving some services out of the way of the new rail bed.

"The intention is, as much as possible, to minimize any construction impact on the travelling public," Harris said, adding that access to local businesses and residences will be maintained during construction and that crews will focus on one piece of road at a time, to limit the impact on through traffic.

Grandlinq also plans on reconstructing Borden Avenue south of Charles Street starting on about Sept.15 and Charles Street (between Borden Avenue and Victoria Street) starting in October.

Regional councillor Tom Galloway expects that, like other road projects, the ION construction will generate plenty of complaints. 

"Some businesses may not have parking spaces for a period of time. People may have to walk a little distance to get to their house or to get to their business. There will certainly be dust, noise, vibrations. These are the typical things that happen when you tear up streets and reconstruct roadways."

Residents affected by road restrictions are encouraged to visit, a website set up by Grandlinq and the Region of Waterloo to answer questions and address concerns.