Traffic disruptions expected with infrastructure project in Bridgewater

by Keith Corcoran

Motorists beware: Traffic bottlenecks on the Main Street of the South Shore are on the horizon as work starts on new watermains in the area of Veterans' Memorial Bridge.

The utility in charge of Bridgewater's water supply is installing new, below-surface piping at the intersection where King Street meets Victoria Road, along with a new watermain on one end of the well-travelled bridge.

Town officials are warning motorists about pending traffic disruptions in the downtown. The nearly $1 million job starts during the week of September 23 to 27 and is expected to take three months to finish.

Patrick Hirtle, a spokesman for the town, expects the traffic challenges will last part of the three months as the project is split into phases taking in the street component first followed by the focus on the transmission lines under the concrete span, which opened in 1983, afterward. Weather conditions could factor in the speed in which each step is completed.

"We wanted to get word out early that this [project] was coming so people can plan accordingly," Hirtle told LighthouseNOW.

The business community is already been in contact with the town with worries about the work's residual impact.

"I've personally been in touch with a couple of businesses in the downtown who are concerned about traffic flow in front of their doorstep and understandably so," Hirtle added. "But we're going to do the best to make sure things keep moving there and just ask for people's patience in recognition it's going to be a work site and that worker safety is a priority and we don't want anyone getting injured as a result of people being inpatient."

Dexter Construction, which secured the $910,202 procurement, will work during the daylight hours. Hirtle indicated an overnight construction schedule would have spiked the cost of the job and been a bigger inconvenience to residents living in the area. He said worker safety was also a consideration factoring in crews would be in three-to-four metre deep trenches.

"The purpose of the work is to upgrade undersized infrastructure as well as to satisfy recommended upgrades to the transmission main connectivity of the existing water reservoirs on both sides of the LaHave River," the town said in a social media post. "The primary focus of the project is to upgrade watermains, which provide drinking water to our residents and businesses, and fire flow protection for our community."

A 10-year-old water system report recommended water transmission system upgrades on one of the bridges so reservoirs on the east and west side of town would fill at the same rate. Right now, the volume of storage is better on one side than the other.

A new large diameter watermain interconnection is needed because there is only one undersized pipe doing the job and that one's across the Old Bridge.

The consulting firm CBCL secured the engineering services for the project at a cost of $93,712.

"We continue to plug away at upgrading infrastructure and this is another one of those projects high on the priority list," Andrew Tanner, the town's deputy mayor and chairman of the Public Service Commission told LighthouseNOW.

"We're also adding capacity with this one, because the town continues to grow and is projected to continue on that path, so we want to build now, to support that future growth. It's a smart investment."

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