Elgin Street is closed: Here's what you need to know

The reconstruction of Elgin Street has entered a new phase today: the downtown strip is now closed to all vehicular traffic from Somerset to Catherine streets.

Busy downtown strip closed from Somerset to Catherine streets as reconstruction kicks into high gear

The first phase of Elgin Street's reconstruction began in March 2018 between Waverley and McLeod streets. It could be two and a half years before the work is done. (CBC)

The reconstruction of Elgin Street has entered a new phase today: the downtown strip is now closed to all vehicular traffic from Somerset to Catherine streets.

Sidewalks will remain open to pedestrians.

The first phases of the $36-million project saw lane closures and parking restrictions along Elgin, which is lined with shops, bars and restaurants.

Tara Blasioli, who's in charge of the City of Ottawa project to redesign Elgin Street, says most of the street will be closed to traffic for a full year. 0:57

Replacing underground infrastructure and revamping the streetscape, including burying power lines, requires the full closure of the street.

That work is expected to last all year. Here's what to expect:

For drivers

The approximately 700-metre stretch between Somerset and Catherine will be transformed into a construction site. Northbound lanes of Elgin will also be closed from Somerset to Nepean streets.

One southbound lane of Elgin will remain open south of Laurier Avenue, but there won't be any parking. Drivers travelling north and south through the downtown are encouraged to use Metcalfe and O'Connor streets, respectively.

Crossing Elgin in a vehicle will only be possible both ways at Somerset, westbound at Lewis and McLeod streets, and eastbound at Gladstone Avenue.

There's free parking at Ottawa City Hall after 6 p.m. on weekdays, and all day on weekends and holidays, during construction.

(City of Ottawa)

For transit users

OC Transpo Routes 5 and 14 will be detoured onto Metcalfe and Cartier streets.

Southbound buses will still pick up passengers at a stop at Elgin and Gloucester streets.

Route 14 will take McLeod and Metcalfe to Gladstone Avenue.

Route 5 will use the Queen Elizabeth Driveway and McLeod between Cartier and Hawthorne Avenue.

(City of Ottawa)

For cyclists

Cyclists are encouraged to use the Rideau Canal pathways or the O'Connor Street bike lane during the Elgin Street closure.

Remember, you won't be able to cross Elgin at some intersections, even on two wheels.

(City of Ottawa)

For pedestrians

Sidewalks will remain open at all times to allow access to businesses along Elgin Street.

Again, you won't be able to cross Elgin at every intersection.

The proposed south-facing view of Elgin Street near Waverley Street. The bollards and pavers indicate parking spots that could also be rented as patios for restaurants. (City of Ottawa)

All done in 2020

Partial lane closures are expected through to the fall of 2020 while workers put the finishing touches on the surface work, including lighting and public art.