Waterdown’s Parkside Drive re-opened Feb. 23 after being closed for a culvert replacement since Sept. 23. The work was originally slated to be completed by the end of November. – Staff photo/IAN KELSO
At long last, Parkside Drive in Waterdown has reopened — but the delay due to issues with Bell infrastructure under the roadway.
A stretch of the key east-west corridor was closed for a culvert replacement between Duncan Avenue and Braeheid Avenue from Sept. 18 until Feb. 23. The work was originally supposed to be closed until the end of November, but the delay was due the infrastructure replacement, said Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge.
“The contractor was not behind schedule,” she explained. “What held it up was the Bell infrastructure that was underneath the bridge, encased in cement.
“It had to be completely rebuilt — the contractor can’t do that, it has to be done by Bell.”
She noted the project would have been on schedule, if not for the completely unanticipated infrastructure replacement.
“That’s what held that project up — it was not the contractor,” she said. “That infrastructure was in much worse shape than it was thought to be.”
However, more roadwork is on the horizon for Parkside, as Phase 2 of the upgrades got underway March 5.
The additional roadwork will include the widening of Parkside Drive to three lanes, including a continuous turn lane from Hollybush Drive to Main Street North. The works will include the installation of new sidewalks, bike lanes and larger boulevards on both sides of the road, Partridge noted. As well, the construction will include two new stoplights and a pedestrian crossover.
Work is currently beginning on Parkside from Braeheid, east to Main Street North, with work to follow from Braeheid to Hollybush.
The work has necessitated the removal of a few trees along Parkside — specifically some large older trees near Hamilton Street — which provoked an outcry among residents, Partridge noted.
“People are always upset when beautiful, old, healthy trees are taken out,” she said. “But there was no way around being able to expand the road and being able to expand the sidewalks, in particular.
“That road has to be urbanized and it will be so much better once it is done.”
While the stretch of Parkside Drive where the trees were removed has an existing sidewalk, the removals were necessary to accommodate the new boulevards and bike lanes.
“That intersection is going to change, especially in front of the Youth Centre,” she said of the Hamilton Street and Parkside Drive intersection. “There needs to be sidewalks on both sides of Parkside, particularly the linkage from Hamilton Street up to Main Street North.”
She added that once construction is complete, about 20 new trees will be planted in the boulevards.
Partridge said the next phase of construction is expected to be completed by September, but cautioned that is dependent on no delays.
“When it’s all done it will be just be so much safer,” she said of Parkside. “I think that’s the main goal here.
“Right now, the road is not that safe.”