Getting onto the eastbound lanes of Highway 417 is about to get a great deal trickier for Friday morning commuters, with ramp and lane closures as part of the Hwy. 417-174 expansion come into effect.
The eastbound Nicholas Street on-ramp will be reduced to one lane starting Friday morning and continuing until the fall of 2015.
That lane reduction follows the Thursday closure of the eastbound Lees Avenue on-ramp, which isn't slated to reopen until spring 2018, just ahead of the completion of the city's $2.13 billion light rail project.
As the project gets underway, CBC Ottawa will be monitoring its progress. Check out our LRT page, with an interactive timeline featuring video, audio, maps and before and after pictures of all 13 stations.
While city planners expect the Lees ramp closure to have a medium impact, the lane reduction for the Nicholas Avenue on ramp is expected to be more of a headache.
Travellers looking to find alternative ways onto the 417 will likely try to enter at Metcalfe or at the Vanier Parkway, meaning those entrances are also expected to be congested.
More changes planned Friday night
The widening of the 417/174 from Nicholas to Blair Road is being done in conjunction with light rail work, as the 417 will provide access for OC Transpo vehicles when work begins in 2015 to convert the transitway into a rail line.
On Friday night a few more changes will also take effect.
The eastbound Vanier Parkway-Riverside Drive off-ramp will be closed until early morning Saturday, and then beginning Saturday the off-ramp will be reduced to one lane until summer 2015.
Highway speeds on the 417 from Nicholas to the Split will also be reduced to 80 kmph in both directions beginning Friday evening.
A look at the some of road closures and alterations the city plans in the next few years to accommodate construction of the LRT. Red lines indicate work scheduled to begin in 2013, with blue lines representing work planned from 2014 to 2016.
View LRT road work in a larger map