Construction is underway on the replacement of the Warsaw Swing Bridge on Parkhill Road East in Peterborough.
According to Parks Canada, Parkhill will be closed between Armour and Television roads for eight months.
While the road itself is closed to through traffic, it is open for local traffic and those who are attending any of the businesses along Parkhill.
“It’s going to be a huge factor with traffic flow for us. Winter months are already slow for our business, and I’m worried this winter will be the worst I’ve ever seen, said Darryl Breadner, owner of 4 Aces Auto Centre.
Breadner has owned the business for 18 years and says after the winter tire rush, business slows right down for the winter.
“After the new year to the spring, it’s our slow time and with no traffic, I’m really concerned about it,” he said. “Next spring, if we do get busy again, if there is no access to our shop, it will be a real problem.”
Angus Curnew owns Angus Motors, down the street from 4 Aces, and has been at the location since 2005.
“I’m seeing our parts deliveries are taking over an hour now instead of just 15 minutes. We’re not seeing the traffic because of the bridge closure,” Curnew said.
Curnew said that he’s worried the winter will slow business even more and that he may need to layoff some of his staff of six.
“It’s going to be a slow winter.”
Curnew tells Global News Peterborough one of the truck drivers who delivers to his lot received a ticket for driving on a closed road despite being there for business purposes.
Brent Perry, president of Alf Curtis Home Improvements on Parkhill tells Global News Peterborough he’s worried his do-it-yourself customers may decide to go somewhere else because of the inconvenience of the major detours to get across the waterway.
Both Breadner and Curnew also expressed concern over the closure of several smaller arterial roads to the south of Parkhill including Old Norwood Road, Maniece Avenue and McFarlane Street between Television and Armour roads.
As a result, there are two detour routes for motorists to get across the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Eastbound traffic and all trucks must go north by way of University Road to Nassau Mills Road before heading south on Armour Road.
Westbound traffic follows Television Road south to Lansdowne Street, then over to Ashburnham Drive.
The City of Peterborough says that decision to close Old Norwood, Maniece and McFarlane came down to safety.
“Those roads are still open to local traffic. Those roads weren’t designed to handle the volume of traffic that is experienced at the Parkhill/Warsaw Swing Bridge crossing which experiences 10,000 vehicles/day. Those three local roads weren’t designed for it,” said city communications manager Brendan Wedley. “The detour routes were designed around safety considerations and congestion.”
“Now you have to go all the way down to Lansdowne Street or north to Trent University to get around,” Curnew said.
“All of the side streets have been limited, so our customers have to go up to Trent or down to Lansdowne Street,” Breadner added. “I feel like there has been no consideration given to the businesses here.”
Other businesses along Parkhill that remain open include Alf Curtis Home Improvements, M.C. Power & Sport and Goodwin Creations.
According to Parks Canada, the project will include the replacement of the steel bridge that crosses the Trent-Severn Waterway, repairs to concrete abutments, and replacement of mechanical and electrical operating systems.
Signs at the closure advise the road was closed as of Oct. 5 and will remain closed for eight months.
“Public safety is a priority for Parks Canada, and engineering inspections in recent years have indicated that this bridge is nearing the end of its useful life. Thus, the bridge will be replaced over the winter months. As a part of its replacement, the bridge will be upgraded to a full highway load rating,” stated Nicole Weber, senior engineer at Parks Canada.
Parks Canada says the 2021 boating navigation season will not be impacted by the bridge replacement.