Work is well underway on the new downtown Seymour Pacific Developments office. In the coming weeks

Expect detours and delays with big downtown project

Campbell River Downtown Revitalization Project begins this month and is expected to be completed by December

It’s a big project with an ambitious completion time.

The Downtown Revitalization Project begins this month and is expected to be completed by December. It will create traffic delays and detours, but the short-term headaches will be worth the long-term gains, according the city’s capital works manager.

“It’s going to look very different downtown – it’s going to look good,” says Jason Hartley, who admits it won’t be easy. “This is a really complicated logistical project – a lot has to get done in a short period of time.”

The $4.7-million project was awarded this week to local contractors Upland Excavating. The firm will replace underground services, relocate most overhead wires underground, and reconfigure streets to give the project area a greener and more contemporary look.

The area, known as the St. Ann’s Block, surrounds the new office for Seymour Pacific Developments which is just under construction. The city’s revitalization project is occurring at the same time in order to minimize disruptions to commuters and businesses.

The city’s project goes from St. Ann’s Road to 10th Avenue, and also incorporates Alder, Beech and Dubeau streets. Hartley says there will be a significant difference along Beech and Dubeau which will feature wider sidewalks, more trees and plants, and the new black lamp street lights.

Hartley says the vision is to create a cohesive flow from the city hall park to the downtown core that incorporates more greenery with as much parking as they could fit in.

It’s about balance, he says, that takes into account drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, businesses and visitors.

“I compare it to Granville Island – there are trees that are spaced sensibly and it creates a park-like setting,” says Hartley.

There are many challenges to the project and the main one is cost constraint. There’s work that could be done, but won’t because there’s not enough money in the budget.

However, Hartley says provisions will be taken to allow for future expansion of services which tie into the new infrastructure.

The biggest short-term problem will be traffic flow. Drivers who commute north and south along Alder Street will be the most impacted.

You can expect road closures for thru traffic, but there will still be access to area businesses, especially for delivery vehicles. And the one advantage of Campbell River’s tentacle-like downtown streets is there are several detour options.

Traffic disruptions could very well begin before the big Canada Day events downtown and Hartley says the one of the main project goals is to get the roads open to traffic as soon as possible.

Following that, work can begin on the street-scaping. Some of this is weather-permitting and final plantings of trees and shrubs may not occur until next spring in order to ensure they survive.

The city intends to provide the public with regular updates on construction and detours.

Learn more about the project at www.campbellriver.ca or e-mail questions and comments to capitalprojects@campbellriver.ca