Road work is already having an impact on traffic around St. Jacobs. It’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
The Region of Waterloo has three projects on the go in and around the village, most visibly the lengthening of approach and exit lanes from the roundabout. Also on tap is the repaving of a portion of Sawmill Road from the roundabout to King Street, and a full reconstruction of a stretch of Hawkesville Road just west of that King Street intersection.
Work on the roundabout is already underway. At some point, each of the four access roads will have to be closed to traffic, if only for part of a day. Lanes will remain open to traffic during the Sawmill Road paving, but Hawkesville Road will be closed through September given the extent of the work.
“We’re looking to improve the function of the roundabout so that it works like a two-lane roundabout,” said Larry Van Wyck, the region’s project manager in charge of the work.
Along with creating longer approach and exit lanes to the roundabout – with an eye on allowing traffic to move around slower trucks – the project will see the grinding up of pavement and resurfacing the roundabout itself for the first time since it opened in 2006.
Now underway, most of the digging and widening is expected to be completed this week, said Van Wyck.
The design calls for curbs on all approaches, but the size of the equipment will mean lane closures while the work is carried out on three of the four sides. That will mean one-day closures, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the days in question, in each case, he added.
The work is scheduled through to September, with evening and weekend times included. The complete closure of Arthur Street north of the roundabout, for instance, is planned for the weekend of September 12.
The reconstruction of Hawkesville Road includes underground services, curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The extent of the work means the road will be ripped up and closed to traffic for the duration.
Van Wyck notes the project will pose access problems for buggy traffic, which will have a long detour between Hawkesville and St. Jacobs.
“We’re aware this is a major inconvenience to the Mennonites, to the horse-and-buggy users,” he said of the detours.
Right now, the detour situation for all traffic is somewhat complicated by ongoing delays in the region’s project on Listowel Road in Elmira. Vehicles are being directed to Three Bridges Road, with has an outlet on Hawkesville Road, where work is already underway.
“We try to avoid having two projects that close to each other,” said Van Wyck, noting the situation is especially troublesome for transport trucks.
The Listowel Road work is a holdover from last year, as deficiencies mean the contractor had to come back to carry out repairs – that fix has been underway for two months.
As with Listowel Road, the Hawkesville Road project involves underground services such as water and sewers, which belong to Woolwich Township though the work is being organized by the region.
Jared Puppe, Woolwich’s director of infrastructure services, said the detouring situation will put some stress on township roads, especially while Listowel Road remains closed. That project is expected to wrap up by early next month.
Van Wyck says the region hopes to have all of the St. Jacobs-area projects wrapped up by late-September.