Cornwall's Main Street coming to life as bypass nears completion
'It'll be exciting to see how some of it unrolls'
Cornwall, P.E.I., is gearing up for the opening of the Cornwall bypass this fall.
And work has already begun on greater access and connections to newly-named Main Street, which is about to see reduced speeds, and a lot less commercial traffic.
"The highway was actually a detriment to the town in a lot of ways because we couldn't get access," said Dean Lewis, the town's manager of planning and development.
He believes the re-routing of the Trans-Canada Highway will open a lot of doors for the municipality.
'It's going to give us all this access'
"It's going to give us access to all this property that was ready for development but couldn't be developed. So now we have the opportunity to build Main Street to suit the town that's already here," he said.
Lewis said the town's Main Street plan, which was adopted last fall, focuses on creating a pedestrian-friendly community hub.
"One of the main things was connectivity," said Lewis.
"People were concerned with pedestrian safety, sidewalks, crosswalks, and they're looking for a more walkable town. [The plan] also identifies connectivity between trails and subdivisions and green spaces as an issue, and gives us some guidelines on how we can make it better."
Lewis said starting in 2020, about $250,000 a year over four years has been budgeted to support development along the re-imagined thoroughfare — an amount he hopes the town can use to leverage funds from other sources.
The town is also working to encourage commercial development along Main Street now that access to businesses will be easier.
"This way, the businesses are going to be a lot safer to enter, and that's going to increase their patrons," Lewis said.
He said one of the first projects centred around Main Street will focus on extending a multi-use trail from the North River roundabout into Cornwall, and the construction of a new road with direct access from Main Street to the town hall.
"When the street becomes Main Street that's when our work is really going to start," said Lewis.
"We have development that is just waiting for that that street to open. So it'll be exciting to see how some of it unrolls."
Work to divert Cornwall Road — the link to the re-routed Trans-Canada Highway — is already complete. And work is now underway on a road that will offer a direct route from Main Street to Eliot River Elementary School and the Terry Fox Sports Complex.
Bypass set to be complete by mid-October
According to officials with the province, the full realignment is expected to be open by mid-October.
The Bannockburn overpass is scheduled to be complete in the second week of September, when work will commence on the Clyde River Bridge.
In the coming weeks, a final layer of pavement will be added to the Cornwall bypass.
Officials don't expect to limit or close the Trans-Canada Highway in order to complete the project.