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Downtown construction expected to cause heavier delays as Londoners return to routines

Motorists are being told to give themselves extra time when travelling in London's downtown core.
Motorists are being told to give themselves extra time when travelling in London's downtown core. Michael Draven/Global News

The city’s manager of downtown projects is warning motorists about longer commute times as construction continues in the core.

Extensive closures on Dundas and York streets have disrupted the usual flow of traffic through downtown all summer. As fall approaches and Londoners get back to their regular routines, increased volume is expected to cause delays.

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“There will be pinch points in traffic which will cause some delays in certain intersections,” said Jim Yanchula.

“For example, you should expect more traffic at Wellington Street and Horton Street. You should also expect some pinch points coming down Ridout Street,” he said.

“If you give yourself enough time, you’ll be able to get to where you’re going.”

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The number of construction projects happening simultaneously means that lane channelling and closures can change often, said Yanchula.

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“They can change in the middle of the day to tell you how to get from one place to another,” he said. “If they have to close a lane to get something done and then open that lane again, what you saw in the morning might not be the same thing you see in the afternoon.”

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Work has been happening along Talbot Street between Kent Street and Fullarton Street since mid-June. Yanchula said that will open up later in September.

“[You’ll also see] the Dundas and Talbot intersection open up. You’ll be able to go up and down Talbot for sure by the third week of September, where you can’t now,” he said.

“That’ll be good because that’ll be about the time where we’re going to have to close Dundas and Richmond to continue work there.”

Construction of Dundas Place, which began back in April and is slated to be completed by Oct. 30, has rendered Dundas Street unusable by vehicles between Richmond Street and Talbot Street, and that meant many of the London’s transit system had to be rerouted onto Queens Avenue and King Street.

“Those east and west routes on Queens and King are becoming familiar now because those were the routes that used to go on Dundas Street past Wellington and now they kind of skirt around what will eventually be Dundas place between Wellington and Ridout,” said Yanchula.

“We’ve broken ourselves in pretty well, the people who used to wait at Dundas and Richmond are now at Richmond and Queens or Richmond and King.”

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Yanchula encouraged transit users to stay informed about affected routes.

“If you go to londontransit.ca you can always see the latest route updates there,” he said.

“For example, the buses that are used to going down Ridout will have to skirt over to Wellington Street.”

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The intersection of Ridout and York is expected to be back up and running by the third week of September. If all goes well, Yanchula said that will open up some north-south routes.

— With files from Victor Young