Uptown Waterloo among first areas to see LRT construction

Road closures are expected in the densely populated Uptown Waterloo area in the coming weeks as official construction of the Ion light rail transit system starts on August 21.
A heated dome is needed over a portion of King Street to keep LRT construction on track. (CBC News)

Road closures are on the way in Uptown Waterloo in the coming weeks as official construction of the ION light rail transit system gets underway on August 21.

Caroline Street is expected to be among the first areas affected by construction, with closures likely running from Allen Street to Erb Street, according to ward councillor Melissa Durrell.

"I think it will be good awareness for the businesses to say 'Yup, this is actually starting to happen now,'" said Durrell. 

"It's not going to be easy. Construction sucks. But in the end this is going to make uptown a much more vibrant place." 

It's not exactly clear how extensive the construction on Caroline will be. However, the region will release more details next week, including information about specific closures for the remainder of the year. 

Durrell says she plans to work with the region and business owners to ensure customers are able to access parking lots off of Caroline Street that service shopping destinations such as Valu-Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart and the LCBO. 

Thomas Schmidt, the region's transportation and environmental services commissioner, says the region's fall construction plan will focus on three main areas:

  • Caroline Street, in Uptown Waterloo.
  • Borden Street, just outside Kitchener's downtown core.
  • Dutton Drive in Waterloo, which will be the future site for an operations and storage facility for the system.

Schmidt adds additional signage and a new website mapping the progress of LRT construction will help residents navigate the disruptions.

"We commit to providing information on detour routes that allow you to either get around the construction or to access anyone that's impacted by the construction and Grandlinq will be doing the same," said Schmidt.