Boaters have been challenged for years launching their boats at the Big Rock Boat Ramp during low tide, but that could come to an end after this week’s announcement that work scheduled to begin this summer on Highway 19A will include the long-planned upgrades to the boat launch. Mirror File Photo

$27-million upgrades to Hwy 19A to begin this summer in Campbell River

Work includes sewer, Big Rock Boat Ramp and continuing the roadwork between Rockland and downtown

The City of Campbell River has announced that it will, indeed, be starting work on the upgrades to Highway 19A between Rockland Road and the Maritime Heritage Centre this summer, as previously planned.

The extensive three-year renewal project will include updating the waterfront sewer line, a rebuild of the Big Rock Boat Ramp and completing the next phase of Highway 19A improvements.

“This work will bring a number of long-term benefits to Campbell River,” says Mayor Andy Adams in the release announcing the start of the project this summer. “We now have the funding to move forward with these related projects, and we’ve coordinated the timing to maximize efficiencies and minimize disruption as we upgrade our highway and sewer infrastructure. We look forward to the finished results, which will greatly improve the livability of our city.”

While planning has been underway for some time, residents will finally see construction get started at the beginning of this summer, particularly between 1st Avenue and the Maritime Heritage Centre and down at the Big Rock Boat Ramp.

The boat launch, in particular, has been a point of contention within the community for years, with boating enthusiasts complaining about access to the launch, parking at the site and clearing of the sediment and debris in the water itself limiting boaters’ access.

Back in 2012, in fact, the city called for bids to remedy the situation, but none of the nine bids received came in within the budget that had been set at the time.

Since then, the city has been applying for various grant opportunities, hoping that having a “shovel-ready” plan would help them land funding, to no avail. So work on the launch will now be rolled into the larger improvement project for the whole stretch of road.

For the waterfront sewer work, significant excavation will be required to lay the new gravity-fed sewer and related utilities.

The release this week announcing the beginning of the upgrades says that “while two-way traffic is intended to be maintained in 2018, the project work will inevitably cause disruption to traffic, parking, and in some areas, property along the route,” and adds that the project team is reaching out to people who will be directly affected by changes to traffic – and updates will be shared with everyone on the project webpage, via social media, published notices, news stories and more.

“This summer’s work sets us up for the more extensive work scheduled for 2020, which will require closures along the highway,” says Ron Neufeld, deputy city manager. “The project team will be working hard to help everyone know what’s happening when and where and how to move efficiently around the project area over the next three years.”

The work will also include the installation of a dedicated bike lane northbound from the end of the Seawalk at Hidden Harbour up the hill to 1st Avenue, announced this January.

The project continues the work the city did on the southern end of the Highway 19A corridor back in 2011, when work was completed to upgrade the road between Hilchey and Rockland.

For more information on the projects and what’s to come, visit campbellriver.ca/construction

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