London

London's had a record year for construction. Here's the status of 5 big projects

It’s been a record-breaking year for construction in London, Ont. With about $200-million worth of projects underway to accommodate a rapidly growing population, daily commutes have been detoured in all four corners of the city since the start of the season.

Construction season isn't over yet, says city's head of infrastructure

Crews are preparing to dig below the rails to make way for the much anticipated Adelaide Street underpass. The city has seen a record year for construction projects. (Angela McInnes/CBC)

It's been a record-breaking year for construction in London, Ont. 

With about $200-million worth of projects underway to accommodate a rapidly growing population, daily commutes have been detoured in all four corners of the city since the start of the season — which isn't over until the end of the fall. 

"I always try to remind people that on the surface it seems like asphalt concrete sidewalks and curbs," said Jennie Dann, director of construction and infrastructure services for the City of London. "They'll ask, 'how can it take so long?' But a lot of these projects, especially for the first portion of them, you really don't see how much work is happening underground." 

While workers are fixing a surface, Dann said, they must also take the time to upgrade what's underneath so that they don't have to come back to it in the near future. It's a painstaking process, but necessary so that London doesn't fall behind in its upkeep. 

There are nearly 100 ongoing projects in the city ranging from renewing aging infrastructure to optimizing rapid transit.

CBC London checked in on the progress of the following five:

The Adelaide Underpass 

In the latest development, a temporary bypass road has been paved for north and southbound traffic on Adelaide Street. (Angela McInnes/CBC)

It's the beginning of the end for getting stuck at the Adelaide Street train tracks, but the two-year project slated to end in 2023 is only in its halfway phase. 

A lot of the work so far has been focused on replacing and upgrading the underground, Dann said, and preparing for digging below the railway.

The latest major development includes transitioning traffic onto a temporary bypass road for north and southbound traffic. Dann said that while traffic will continue to be maintained throughout the year, drivers should still anticipate some lane restrictions. 

The Victoria Bridge 

The deck of the century-old Victoria Bridge has now been removed. (Angela McInnes/CBC)

The deck of the century-old bridge on Ridout Street and Horton Street East is now almost completely gone, making way for what will be a wider deck surface to better accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. At this point, crews are focused on removing the rest of the bridge and building the footings for the new one. 

This project is expected to reach completion in May 2023. Until then, a temporary bridge allows for cyclists and pedestrians to travel over the Thames River. 

Southdale Road West between Tillman Road and Wonderland Road South 

Jennie Dann, director of construction and infrastructure services for the City of London, said construction along Southdale Road West has been coming along nicely. (Angela McInnes/CBC)

Dann estimates that by the week of Oct. 1, traffic will flip onto the newly paved north side of Southdale Road West and work will begin on the south side.

Updates include new storm sewers and watermains, along with improvements to groundwater infiltration.

This project goes until the very end of the fall. 

The Downtown Loop: Queen's Avenue between Richmond and Talbot streets 

A new set of six blocks are now dug up as part of the second phase of the Downtown Loop project. (Angela McInnes/CBC)

The second phase of the Downtown Loop is now underway, with crews digging along four blocks of Queen's Avenue and two blocks of Ridout Street before putting the roads back together. 

The Queen's Avenue and Richmond Street intersection is now open, but there will be periodic closures expected as work continues on the rapid transit project. 

This part of the loop is set for completion in mid-October. 

The Downtown Loop: King Street between Richmond and Wellington streets

As work on the second phase swings into motion, contractors are placing the finishing touches on the first phase along King Street at Wellington Street beneath Citi Plaza. (Angela McInnes/CBC)

It may have seemed like this portion of the first phase of the Downtown Loop had been laid to rest, but the city currently has a contractor doing cleanup work and finishing touches. 

That part of the project is in its warranty phase, Dann said, which means the city is entitled to ordering repairs on cracks caused by shifting pavement before it signs off on the contract for good. 

The same goes for Dundas Place.

Londoners should expect to see finishing work done on the road's brickwork during the last few days of September. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela McInnes is a reporter for CBC London. She keeps a close eye out for stories touching on environment, poverty and mental health. You can reach her at angela.mcinnes@cbc.ca.

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