As Canada’s ninth largest city, and one that’s constantly growing, it’s no surprise that a ton of construction is headed Brampton’s way to keep up with all of the major upgrades that are happening in our city.
A new university in the downtown core, a Riverwalk along the Etobicoke Creek and a city-wide transformation over the next 20 years are just a few of the projects that are in the works for Brampton. One of the major projects that’s coming up quicker than the rest, however, is Downtown Reimagined.
With the downtown Brampton transformation may come a major road closure at Brampton’s core – Queen Street and Main Street. The closure could last up to three years, according to recent city council documents.
Downtown Reimagined is the city’s plan to make downtown Brampton a more urban space. According to the Downtown Brampton BIA, it will create an “aesthetically beautiful” area from Mill Street South to Chapel Street on Queen Street, and Nelson Street East to Wellington Street on Main Street.
It’s essentially a major streetscaping project to create more walking, sitting, cycling, and festival space in the downtown core. As part of the streetscape upgrades, Capital Works, Public Works and Engineering is asking city council’s approval for the major road closure on Main Street from Wellington Street to Nelson Street West and on Queen Street from George Street to Chapel Street.
“The limits of the streetscaping work on both Main and Queen has an approximate right-of-way width of 20m,” reads the most recent council agenda.
“This width houses all utilities, streetlights, trees, benches and other street furniture that all require upgrades. In order to complete the reimagining of the downtown, all utilities, including municipal storm sewers, must be removed, realigned and reinstalled to suit the new streetscaping. Staging this work is very complicated and includes a tiered approach to construction with multiple crews to ensure there are minimal interruptions to day-to-day business throughout construction.”
In order to complete these upgrades, the city is considering three construction staging options: maintaining two lanes of traffic, partial road closure, or full road closure.
The pros and cons?
Maintaining one lane of traffic in each direction throughout construction would mean seven to eight years of construction and inflated costs of up to $15 million, but there would be slightly less traffic on side roads and less detours required over the years.
Partially closing Queen and Main would mean alternating the closure starting with Queen, then renovating Main afterwards. Construction would last four-and-a-half to five years, and possibly require an increased budget by $5-$10 million.
Finally, shutting down Queen and Main entirely entails a two-and-a-half to three-year construction period with no increased budget costs, though side roads would be impacted by increased traffic. A reduced sidewalk would remain, according to the city.
The final option is city staff’s main recommendation.
“Based on the analysis, staff recommends that a full closure of the road provides better quality of work, highest level of safety, removes the unnecessary inflation and administrative costs, and allows the traveling public to anticipate and adapt to the closure. Continuous change to the traffic detours can lead to unsafe conditions and frustration,” reads the document.
“Prior to construction, wayfinding signage will be installed to direct drivers to the parking garages as well as implementing an ‘open for business’ campaign in partnership with the BIA during construction.”
A plan for traffic management will be developed with the contractor that is awarded the project, according to the document, and downtown festivals and events will be coordinated with the city’s event planning staff should council approve the major road closure.
Currently, $2.5 million has been accounted for in Brampton’s budget to install interlocking pavers as surface material on a concrete base for this project.
Construction work is slated to begin in fall 2018 on the Sanitary Sewer and Watermain Works, and the streetscape improvements are scheduled for construction in 2019.
All graphics courtesy of the City of Brampton