A section of sewer, more than a century old, will finally be replaced in downtown London, Ont., as construction ramps up next week.
The closure of Richmond Street between York and King streets, including the entire King Street intersection, will begin July 6 and is expected to last through early September.
The work is part of the long-term sewer separation project which began in 2018 and involves separating combined storm and sanitary sewers to help reduce sewage overflow into the Thames River during heavy rain events.
In January, a record-breaking rainfall resulted in about 68 million litres of sewage being diverted to the river, which serves as the water supply for Oneida Nation of the Thames First Nation. A boil water advisory has been in place there since late 2019 but Chief Jessica Hill told Global News at the time that it should have been in place since 2006.
“This work is part of London’s commitment to creating a City and downtown core that is safe, efficient and ready for the future,” says manager of downtown projects and business relations, Jim Yanchula.
“It will have a lasting impact on the environment by reducing the amount of untreated wastewater that flows into the Thames River, and help us support continued progress and development in our core.”
The city says it will also use the opportunity to resurface streets and sidewalks in the area, while the roadway is dug up, but that “every effort will be made to ensure all residents can still access local businesses” and “safely navigate construction detours, whether on foot, on a bike or in a car.”
For motorists, the city says two blocks of King Street will be converted to two-way traffic between Talbot and Clarence streets.
For cyclists, cycling-specific detour signs will be posted and officials say cyclists will have to dismount when going around the closed intersection to share space with pedestrians.
For pedestrians, the city says access will be maintained throughout the construction zone and maps will be put up at the intersection to help guide pedestrians to area businesses.
As for those using public transit, a list of route detours can be found on the London Transit Commission’s website.