Work well in hand on busy Charlottetown road closure, says city

Some businesses were upset that work didn't continue into the weekend, but the city was waiting on a crane that wasn't booked until late Sunday.

City was waiting on crane that wasn't scheduled to arrive until Sunday

Workers help assemble the concrete sections Monday morning. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Some Charlottetown business owners are upset about a lack of site work over the weekend at a major intersection that's closed for construction, but the city says the work is well on track to finish on time — weather permitting.

The busy intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway, North River Road and Lower Malpeque Road has been closed since last week to accommodate replacing the aging storm drainage system.

"The sooner they get it done, the better," said Melvin Roberts, at House of Excellence Interiors, who added he's seen a noticeable drop in the number of customers coming in on weekdays while construction continues.

Nobody was jumping up and down for joy about it, but a lot of them were understanding.- Paul Johnston

Roberts said he was surprised to see that, given the weekend weather, there wasn't any work happening at the intersection from Friday afternoon until Monday morning.

"I would have like to have seen them maybe get some of that work accomplished," he said.

Melvin Roberts says he thought work on the closed intersection should have continued during the weekend, when the weather was suitable. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"I don't like to see good weather wasted, not given how critical that is."

But even in the nice weather, the city was unable to move forward with the work while awaiting the arrival of a crane that wasn't scheduled to show up until Sunday afternoon.

Some businesses have posted 'open for business' signs to let customers know that, despite the intersection being closed, their shops are not. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Paul Johnston, Charlottetown's manager with assets infrastructure, said the crane was booked elsewhere in the Maritimes, and the city didn't request it to show up until Sunday, thinking it would take until then to get the work done for its arrival.

Paul Johnston is the city public works manager for the City of Charlottetown. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

But construction was ahead of schedule, he said, so there wasn't anything to be done until it arrived.

"Things went exceedingly well for us the first week, didn't really need that flex time of Saturday and/or Sunday to finalize some things, so the crane got here Sunday, set up and 7 a.m. this morning [Monday] they were beginning to lift in those sections," said Johnston.

Businesses in the area have been understanding of the work and the necessary road closure, Johnston said.

The ground has been dug up and is ready for the crane to hoist portions of the new drainage system in. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"Nobody was jumping up and down for joy about it, but a lot of them were understanding."

Johnston said the two-week road closure was preferable to a five- or six-week partial closure.

As for when work will be completed, Johnston is hopeful that if the weather maintains and the rain holds off, the intersection could be reopened by early next week.

With files from Nancy Russell