We’ve all heard a lot about the Ion light rail transit system that is coming to Waterloo Region. This new transportation system, the largest project in regional public works history, is expected to cost $593 million in construction costs alone. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s happening, so here are the details of the 2015 construction schedule:
Though the weather will play a big part, construction is scheduled to start in less than a month. You can expect to find road closures, detours, temporary bus stops, and major disruptions to local businesses in multiple sites across Kitchener and Waterloo, as more than 600 construction workers will be working from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. However, for the project to stay on schedule, this could (and likely will) extend into weekends. The project has also obtained an exemption from the City of Kitchener's noise by-law to work late hours if needed. Waterloo council will decide on March 9th whether or not to permit work past 7:00 p.m.. With all of the construction, it is expected that more than 50% of the project will be completed this year. Construction phases include removals, sanitary sewers, water mains, storm sewers, road reconstruction and a first round of pavement and sidewalks, plus a final layer of pavement.
According to Regional Councillor Tom Galloway, "it's the adage, short-term pain for long-term gain, and there is going to be some pain ... I think it's good for us to get that out there now and to be dealing with it ahead of time because when it arrives, it's going to arrive and it's going to be an interesting summer and fall."
The good news for Cambridge residents is that most impact will be felt along King Street, the main artery of the light rail corridor from Conestoga Mall in Waterloo to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener. One of the most impactful pieces of construction will be the closure of King Street from Victoria Street to Union Street, which will be closed starting in March for as long as 18 months. However, the plan is for local access to be maintained for businesses, residents and Grand River Hospital. A communication plan will be in place to help residents through construction, including an awareness campaign related to Grand River Hospital. Though detours have not yet been finalized, it is expected that Weber Street will serve as the main alternative route during light rail construction.
For construction updates, visit rideion.ca. For construction complaints or questions, you can call 1-844-625-1010.
Sources: The Record, CTV Kitchener