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Millions to be spent on Point Edward road reconstruction

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Mayor says “thoughtful approach” given to biggest contract in village’s history

Cathy Dobson

Point Edward council has awarded a $5,371,500 contract to an Inwood contractor for the largest infrastructure project in the village’s history.

McNally Excavating will be meeting with council in the next week to hammer out the details, including when the first phase will begin on a major road project stretching along St. Clair Street from Front Street to Michigan Avenue.

The first phase in front of several busy Point Edward businesses could begin this fall. (Cathy Dobson photo)

The work encompasses five large blocks, six intersections, and encompasses some of the busiest areas of Point Edward. Council has received many complaints from local residents about speeding and driving conditions along St. Clair in recent years and the infrastructure under the roadway needs updating.

That prompted council to hire MIG Engineering to complete design work that will address numerous issues along the road, which travels past popular spots like Ironworks Gym, Sarnia Produce, Marcin Bowl and Ice Cream Galore.

The final phase involves the busy intersection of Michigan and St. Clair. (Cathy Dobson photo)

“We think the work on this road will be something other communities will want to emulate,” said Point Edward Mayor Bev Hand. “It’s a thoughtful approach to make improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and cars.”

Council had hoped that work would begin in the summer but decided instead to ask for additional engineering work that makes the contract even more encompassing. Specifically, that involves reconfiguring the intersection of Helena and Louisa streets where Marcin Bowl is located. Like several peculiarly-angled intersections in Point Edward, it will be rebuilt at a 90 degree angle to improve visibility and safety.

The contract was awarded to McNally last week. Hand said she hopes the first phase can be completed this fall from Front to the curve in St. Clair near Stevie D’s pub. However, that has not been determined yet.

It’s also possible the entire project won’t start until the spring.

Hand said a great deal of time has been put into design work and that council is “comfortable we’ve made good decisions.”

When complete, the two lanes on St. Clair Street will be narrower to slow traffic down.  The road will include a sidewalk on the residential side and a wider path on the bridge side to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists, with parking on the residential side only.

St. Clair will have “bumpouts,” more landscaping, and more trees to make it more aesthetically pleasing and discourage speeding.

“I think people will be happy to see the street dressed up by Sarnia Produce with a lot more grass and trees,” Hand said. “It should be impressive and serve the village for years to come.

“There is just so much to this.”

The intersection of Helena and Louisa will be rebuilt with a 90 degree angle for improved visibility. (Cathy Dobson photo)

Under the road, the water line will be replaced and spot repairs will be made to the sanitary line and storm sewers.  In total, the project is divided into four phases, with the first possibly completed this fall.

Four contractors made a bid for the project, all coming in below the $6 million the village estimated for the job, said Point Edward CAO Jim Burns.

“It’s a huge job, easily the largest ever for the village,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of problems with the old waterline and there’s been a lot of discussion about speeding in the village.  We want to get this work done.”

The municipality has put aside provincial and federal grants for infrastructure repair in recent years and has about $2 million in the bank for the job.

Approximately $170,000 is being provided by the federal Active Transportation program to ensure a more safety-conscious design for all road users.

The balance of the contract will need to be borrowed from Infrastructure Ontario.



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