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$2.4M design contract for Adelaide Street underpass gets committee approval

A digital rendering of the planned underpass along Adelaide Street from a different angle. City of London

A much-anticipated railway underpass on Adelaide Street is one step closer to reality after London’s civic works committee recommended awarding a $2.4-million contract for its detailed design to a consultant.

During Tuesday’s meeting, roads and transportation director Doug MacRae said an environmental assessment is complete but there’s still lots of work to do before Londoners can enjoy the $58-million project’s benefits.

READ MORE: London city committee unanimously endorses Adelaide Street underpass project

The city has to purchase property in the area, and also has plans to build a temporary detour road that’ll serve about 70 per cent of Adelaide Street’s traffic.

“We know there’s space for a two-lane detour. We’re going to see if we can squeeze a three-lane. There is not enough space for a four-lane, just due to the constraints of the rail infrastructure that’s in place,” MacRae said.

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There will be times when Adelaide Street is closed entirely, MacRae said, adding the city will bring a contractor on board to make sure those closures are as short as possible.

READ MORE: Adelaide underpass gets green light from London city council

The project — and its hefty price tag — includes roadway construction, railway grade separation, street lighting, landscaping, and property acquisitions. The Canadian Pacific Railway is paying 15 per cent of the cost.

Construction is set to start in 2021, though early preparation, like moving utilities, could start in 2020.

According to an environmental study report that went before the civic works committee in August last year, 25,500 vehicles use Adelaide Street every day. The CP crossing blocks the major artery dozens of times a day, snarling traffic south King Street and north beyond Oxford Street. The study says 40 per cent of those blockages last more than five minutes.

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