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Barrydowne road work will have to pause by mid-December, recommence come spring

Barrydowne Road project carries an almost $6-million price tag and includes the replacement and repair of underground infrastructure and the reconstruction of the arterial road’s surface

Although work on Barrydowne Road is continuing into next year, it’s proceeding both on time and schedule — so says Dave Shelsted, the city’s director of engineering services, who clarified that the almost $6-million project is of a massive scale that includes not only road work, but also the installation and refurbishment of underground infrastructure. 

They’re also adding a lane for southbound traffic, he said, “basically to turn onto Westmount (Avenue) and to facilitate the (westbound) turning movement onto The Kingsway and to get straight through the Kingsway intersection.”

The project broke ground in July and came in response to the road and underground infrastructure’s degrading condition, with various water main breaks recorded in recent years.

“People that travel there regularly would have seen a number of repair locations from past water main breaks,” Sheldsted said.

“We look at co-ordinating our infrastructure improvements, so when we’re fixing the pipes, we’ll try and fix the above-ground infrastructure if it makes sense at the same time.”

Earlier this year, Barrydowne Road’s degrading condition earned position No. 6 on the CAA’s list of the top 10 worst roads in north and east Ontario.

Tackling this beleaguered stretch of road is lead contractor Interpaving Limited and its subcontractors. Although the work itself is proceeding on schedule, its July start was later than initially anticipated.

“There was a supply issue due to COVID, so we were hoping to start the project earlier, but we waited until we had all of the pipe components secured before we authorized the start of construction,” Shelsted said. “If you’re going to dig a hole, make sure you have all the equipment you need.”

Underground, two integral water mains, including one 300 mm in diameter and another 500 mm in diameter, are being reinforced with an internal structural liner made out of fibreglass resin.

“We’re actually accelerating the construction by using trenchless technologies and fixing the pipe while it’s in the ground,” Shelsted said, describing the process as digging two trenches on either side of a stretch of straight pipe, draining the line, securing the liner within, testing it and repairing the access points.

This trenchless approach has saved the crew “weeks of construction” and extended the life of the city’s aging infrastructure as laid out in the project’s initial tender.

Any means of speeding up the process helps in not only the cost, but also in mitigating traffic delays and impacts to area businesses and residents. As such, Shelsted said trenchless approaches are pursued whenever possible.

Within the next week or two, underground work will conclude on the southbound lanes and base asphalt will be installed, which will allow crews to shift traffic from the northbound lanes to the southbound lanes so trenchless work can commence on northbound lanes’ water main.

This will result in a detour for those accessing Westmount Avenue Public School from the road for a period of time, which the bus consortium has been made aware of. 

Lanes will be opened by the time work breaks for the winter in mid-December and construction will recommence in the spring, when crews will reconstruct the northbound lanes, including asphalt, the curb and sidewalk.

“Then you’ll see surface asphalt on the entire project,” Shelsted said, adding that final work, such as driveway tie-ins, will be completed by the summer.

“It’s a significant amount of work and it’s progressing on schedule for us,” Shelsted said, adding that it’s a large-scale, complicated project during which traffic flow along this major arterial road must be maintained alongside access to properties.

When all is said and done, the pipe work is expected to carry a lifespan of 50 to 70 years and the road work carries a lifespan of approximately 20 years.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for