Phase 2B of the Cornwall bypass project underway

The new stretch of highway will create a new extension to the Trans Canada Highway and will help decrease traffic through Cornwall.

New 7.5-km stretch of highway expected to decrease traffic through Town of Cornwall

Construction on Phase 2B of the Cornwall bypass project is expected to be completed fall 2019. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Construction is underway on a new phase of the Cornwall bypass project that is expected to alleviate traffic through the town.

With the roundabout at the intersection of York Point Road and the Trans-Canada Highway now complete, work will will focus on a new perimeter highway from New Haven to the York Point Road.

Government expects the new work, referred to as Phase 2B, to be completed fall 2019.

The new highway will run through land the province will need to acquire.

"We're moving a lot of earth," said Stephen Yeo, chief engineer for the province's Department of Transportation. 

"It's a 7.5 kilometre stretch of new highway. There's six overpasses, there are bridge components in it and there's a lot of cuts and fills of earth to move."

Wetlands to be replaced

An environmental impact assessment was completed and approved in June following a public meeting. The 230-page report concluded that the environmental impact of phase 2B would not be significant.

The 7.5 kilometres of new highway will have a significant number of cuts and fills in it. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Some of the highway runs through wetlands. But Yeo said any wetlands that are destroyed will be replaced at three times the size.

"There will be wetlands, ponds built on both sides as we put in a drainage structure, so that will maintain some of the wetlands and more wetlands will be created in conjunction with our Department of Environment and with our watersheds groups in the area, so that will be all done as the project moves on."

Trans-Canada extension

The new stretch of highway will create an extension to the Trans-Canada Highway and will help decrease traffic through Cornwall.

"There's no question safety was one of the main drivers behind this project," Yeo said. "The tractor trailer traffic and the accesses going through the community were a concern with the community for many years. For trucks and traffic that's just heading directly to Charlottetown, it will certainly be a safer area for them and as well as the community itself."

Phase 2B of the Cornwall extension project will include a 140-metre bridge across the Clyde River. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The province plans to install berms to reduce the impact of noise and traffic.

"We made commitments at various public meetings that we were going to build a berm for Fulton Drive," Yeo said. "We've done some noise studies and really it's more of a vision-type thing than the noise. Studies have shown that there's not going to be a great deal of noise and nothing that exceeds the appropriate noise levels."

24 properties affected

The province needs to acquire 24 properties to complete the project.

At this point, it has purchased six properties, has purchase agreements in place with owners for an additional eight and has nine parcels of land to negotiate.

A berm will be built near Fulton Drive to cut down on noise from traffic when the highway is completed. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"We don't need all the properties this year because the work will just proceed to a certain limit, but yes, we will need to acquire the rest of them," Yeo said.

"We'll be working on it for two years to come."