Construction on London’s bus rapid transit system is officially underway after more than seven years of deliberation and planning.
Work on the first phase of the Downtown Loop began Monday and has King Street closed between Richmond and Clarence Street.
The city says pedestrians can still access that section of King Street, while eastbound cyclists are being redirected to Dundas Place via Talbot Street.
The construction will include upgrading sewers and water mains between Richmond and Wellington streets as well as constructing curbside transit-only lanes “to improve traffic capacity, mobility, and safety. New streetlights and traffic signal upgrades will also be included.”
“We’ll be keeping one lane of traffic open between Ridout and Richmond at all times. However, the work that’s on the stages east of Richmond to Wellington, those will require full closures,” the city’s director of major projects, Jennie Dann, told Global News.
“That’s because that portion includes that underground sewer renewal. We’ll be replacing 100-year-old combined sewers, which is so important to support growth in the core and improve the health of the Thames River.”
The Downtown Loop of London’s BRT plan, once completed, will run buses along Queens Avenue, King Street, Ridout Street and Wellington Street.
Dann says the first phase will take the entire construction season.
“That deep sewer work that’s happening between Richmond and Wellington, we’ll be doing it in smaller chunks but we will be having impacts for the full construction season,” she explained.
“For the section that goes from Ridout to Richmond, we’re going to keep one lane of traffic open throughout that construction, also staging it down, but that’s an area where we’re not doing as much underground work so we’re hoping to wrap that up, we’re definitely looking for early fall.”
Construction in the core is also resulting in lane restrictions for eastbound traffic between the Kensington Bridge and Ridout Street.
In that instance, the construction is part of the Dundas Street-Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) Connection.
The Dundas Street-TVP Connection will create a two-way protected bike lane on Dundas to help improve the link for pedestrians and cyclists between the TVP and downtown, the city says.