The congestion every summer at the intersection of Lombard Avenue and Abbott Street in Smiths Falls could be more seamless come June 2021.
Representatives Lisa Bowley and Lee Sheets of Novatech and Jim Bell of Partham Engineering joined council at its virtual meeting on Monday, June 1 to answer questions about their plans for the reconstruction.
“We will have a better idea of pre-emptive measures,” Bell said. “It will be a much more efficient type of operation than it is currently.”
The construction will include updated system controls alerting drivers and pedestrians when the Abbott Street bridge is closed, giving enough time to choose an alternative route.
There will also be accessibility features including markers, countdown markers, audible signals and paint markings that meet modern standards that are currently not being met.
“It’s not going to be perfect depending on how long the bridge is closed for,” Bell said. “It will certainly work better than it does now where everybody just kind of stops.”
“It is a challenge-ridden area,” Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris said. “We’ve looked at a couple of options, one to flip the sidewalk on the bridge to the other side close to the park. With a bridge that swings it’s not an easy option, but we’ve approached parks Canada about that.”
Originally, the town wanted to construct a right turn lane from Abbott onto Lombard, but the engineers concluded “it would not provide a significant benefit to the road users or be cost effective.”
The town’s anticipated construction time is between Sept. 1 and June 30, 2021 and is expected to take eight weeks.
“The hope is we can stitch this together and have the construction occur after the Beckwith street project is done,” Morris said. “We fully expect to have two-lane traffic on Beckwith before this starts.”