Widening of James A. Gifford Causeway to begin after Thanksgiving weekend: Report

The James A. Gifford Causeway over Chemong Lake suffered damage from the May 4 storm. File

The first phase of widening the James. A Gifford Causeway over Chemong Lake will begin in October.

A staff report to be reviewed by Peterborough County council on Sept. 5 recommends extending the contract with BT Engineering to continue its contributions on the project to widen the two-lane causeway which connects Bridgenorth and Ennismore and sees more than 10,000 vehicles cross daily.

Widening the causeway has long been part of the county’s long-term transportation master plan. The project was originally planned to begin in 2020.

The report advises keeping the company as the single source for the contract administration and inspection in order to “ensure continuity of service, knowledge, support and engineering expertise to the county.”

READ MORE: Chronic littering leads Peterborough County to place popular fishing spot off limits

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Council in February approved extending BTE’s purchase order to allow the company to complete the design and tender documents, along with securing approvals and permits from agencies including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority, Parks Canada Trent Severn Waterway, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

BTE Engineering also completed negotiations with Covia mines (the former Unimin) for the supply of rock for the widening.

The contract to begin widening the causeway is planned to start after the Thanksgiving weekend or about Oct. 9, the report states.

“The causeway widening project will be one of the largest freshwater fish habitat restoration projects undertaken in Canada,” states Peter Nielsen, the county’s manager of engineering and design.

“As such, the project will be the subject of the scrutiny of the regulatory agencies. It is expected that there will be frequent inspections of the project due to its high profile and importance.”

READ MORE: Repairs needed for causeways in Peterborough County in wake of storm

Nielsen says BTE has been involved with the project through the completion of environmental reports, installation of culvert lines in 2014-2015 and even completion of emergency repairs following a windstorm on May 4.

The report says the widening project includes three phases:

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  • Phase 1: October 2018 – March 2019 – Construction of rock fill
  • Phase 2: October 2019 – January 2020 – Construction of fish habitat
  • Phase 3: January 2020 – January 2022 – Performance monitoring per DFO permit requirements

Construction will be dependent on weather, winter conditions, ice buildup, traffic movement and other factors, Nielsen notes.

Tenders for construction work closed on Tuesday and bid results will be presented to council at the Sept. 5 meeting.

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