It’s one of the busiest intersections in the city of Fredericton. With access to the highway, the Regent Mall and Prospect Street. An estimated 50 000 cars travel through every month so the question on everyone’s mine this summer when work begins is what will this mean for traveling?
Released back in November, the intersection is scheduled for a major overhaul starting in June and going on through the next three months. Forcing drivers to find alternate routes to get around. Two of the city’s main road’s make up the intersection, Regent Street and Prospect Street. Prospect is one of the busiest streets in the city with restaurants, banks, grocery and clothing stores, and the High School. So while some may worry about how they will get around this summer, Jon Lewis, one of the city’s traffic engineers, says that precautions are being taken.
” One of the things we are going to be doing is re-optimizing the traffic signal timing so there’s signals at Prospect street and Bishop Drive very close to the roundabout,” he said “By changing those timings we can certainly help move traffic away from the roundabout so we don’t back into it. ”
So while drives in the area will have to find alternate routes to get to where they need to, some businesses in the area are worried what this may mean for business. Sherry Forbes, the acting manager of The City Motel, says she worries what this will mean for them during their peak season.
“With the construction coming to the Regent Street to the right of us and to the bridge to the left of us. People traveling from the Oromocto area up that way and people coming from the Woodstock area would have problems getting into the motel,” she said “There will be no exit, so there’s no way for them to get in and out.”
The summer project is a joint venture between the city and the Department of Transportation. It will ring in at a cost of roughly 4.8 million dollar. The Department of Transportation is tackling the Route 8 bridge. The bridge that was built in 1959 will be taken out and replaced. When it reopens it will be higher and have the extra turning lane to coincide with the city’s plans for the intersection.
Josh Fox, an engineer with Department of Transportation, says that it makes the most sense to do the two projects at the same time.
“There are some conveniences there I mean with the underpass being closed it is going to reduce traffic volumes from using that intersection. Which will make it safer for the people working on it of course,” he said” We thought you know given the opportunity to do everything at once. To condense this into a 3 month period rather then you know 2 years’ worth of these projects or even 3 years would be a benefit to the public.”
Drivers may not be able to go over through the intersection and over the Route 8 bridge but they will be able to turn right and go down Prospect Street, when motorists come off the Vanier Highway they can turn right and go down Regent.
The city launched a website not too long ago to keep the public updated through the process, and so they could see what other routes were available while the intersection is closed.
On suggestion that the city has for an alternative route is the roundabout that was put in back in this past summer. The 2 million dollar project was the last major construction project that the city completed. It was supposed to open in early September but didn’t actually open till September 22 due to problems with the asphalt.
Before opening an information page was launched to help drivers master the new roundabout. It wasn’t long before video’s of a Checker Cab driver going in the roundabout backwards showed up on social media.
Lewis says that he hopes the the new site with help things run as smooth as possible.
“There’s some information about what’s being done. Kinda some tips and tricks about talking to your employer now about vacation time, flex time, things like that,” he said “There’s maping showing what’s open, whats closed, whats under construction, kinda what alternate routes are available.”
Along with raising up the bridge and adding turning lanes the project includes replacing all the infrastructure, the water, sewer, and putting in wider sidewalks. During the time of the construction there will be temporary pedestrian sidewalks where the bridge is supposed to be.
While there are precautions being taken Forbes worries what sort of effect it will have on them when they do shut off the water.
“We are concerned with the water…how are our guests going to shower, how are they going to brush their teeth…How are we going to provide coffee for our motel guests that come in?”
Some Fredericton residents are lucky enough to avoid the construction this summer. Sherry Black says she feels for those who do have to deal with the hustle and bustle this summer.
“I don’t drive, I’m a 20 minute walk from work, I’m semi retired…So no it doesn’t effect me but I know it will effect some people that do have to travel.”
The city has scheduled meetings within the coming weeks to update the public on what is going on. As well they will meet with the businesses in around the area to talk about what the summer has in store for them.