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$6-million road reconstruction is underway in Point Edward

Point Edward officials are calling for patience from residents, business owners and visitors as the biggest road reconstruction in the village’s history begins.

A large, five-block stretch of Lite and St. Clair streets from Front Street to Michigan Avenue will be rebuilt this summer. The work is being split up into phases that should help alleviate some of the headaches of road construction, says Point Edward CAO Jim Burns.

“We’ve tried to break it down into manageable chunks,” he said. “Businesses along there are absolutely, legitimately concerned but once phase one is done, they should be fine.”

Phase one started Monday, making it no longer possible to turn off Front Street and travel west on Lite Street toward St. Clair. That’s going to be the case until the end of May.

However, there are alternate ways of getting to the village’s busy commercial area that includes Sarnia Produce, Sitara restaurant, Marcin Bowl, the Point Brewing Company, Davey Jones’ Meat Market, Flakery Bakery, Red & Co. and several other popular spots.

Drivers now need to continue along Front Street and follow detour signs that bring them to those businesses from Helena or Louisa Streets. 

“There may be short periods of time you can’t get to those businesses but we are trying to keep that to a minimum,” said Burns. “The bottom line is that the work needs to be done.”

When complete, the two lanes on St. Clair and Lite 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 speeders.

The $6-million project was going to start last year but more engineering work pushed it into this spring so that the intersection of Helena and Louisa streets (where Marcin Bowl is located) can be rebuilt at a 90 degree angle to improve safety and visibility.

“Our hope is that we are getting the commercial area finished at a quieter time of year, before the patio season starts,” said Burns. “At the end of the day, it’s going to pay off with much nicer streetscapes, a multi-purpose path on the street and new waterlines, especially along Lite Street where we’ve had a number of breaks.”  Sanitary and storm sewers will be repaired or replaced where needed.

Phase two is scheduled from May to July when St. Clair Street from Bridge Street to Albert Street is scheduled for reconstruction.  Bridge Street is already closed to traffic, meaning no access to the Bluewater Bridge from St. Clair.

In July and August, phase three will focus on St. Clair from Albert to Charles Street.

And the hope is that the fourth and final phase from Charles to Michigan Avenue will take place in August and September.

The plan includes changes to the Michigan Avenue/St. Clair intersection with  “bulb-outs” and a pedestrian crossing.

McNally Excavating Ltd., based in Inwood, is doing the construction work, while MIG Engineering is providing project management, contract administration and inspection services. 

The project is necessary to install new infrastructure under the roadway and address the many complaints of speeding along St. Clair in recent years, Burns said.

The village has saved approximately $2.5 million for the roadwork and is debenturing another $3.5 million to get the job done. No upper tier funding is available specificially for this project, the CAO added.

Mayor Bev Hand wasn’t available for a comment this week but told The Journal previously that she believes this major road reconstruction will be something other municipalities will want to emulate.

“It’s a thoughtful approach to make improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and cars,” she said.

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

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


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