Cornwall's Main Street coming to life as bypass nears completion

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. 

'It'll be exciting to see how some of it unrolls'

A look at how Cornwall Road has been realigned to bring traffic from the bypass to the city's new Main Street. (Town of Cornwall )

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. 

Dean Lewis, manager of planning and development for the town of Cornwall, says there are many developments waiting on the opening of the Cornwall bypass to move forward. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

"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.

An image from Cornwall's Main Street plan. This one includes upgrades to the town's skate park, and easy access for both pedestrians and cyclists. (Town of Cornwall )

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. 

One of the images that illustrates part of Cornwall's Main Street plan. A pedestrian-friendly Main Street that is easily accessible from other parts of town. (Town of Cornwall)

"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.

A map of Cornwall that shows the centre of town and the re-alignment of Cornwall Road to connect it to Main Street. (Town of Cornwall )

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. 

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Jessica Doria-Brown


Jessica Doria-Brown is a videojournalist with CBC in P.E.I. Originally from Toronto, Jessica has worked for CBC in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Ontario.


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