Prepare for road closures with bridge construction
Construction is about to resume on the replacement of the 48 Avenue bridge, and will require the closure of a section of the road. File Photo/Camrose Canadian
Camrose drivers will need to make alternate travel plans starting in a couple of weeks.
The 48 Avenue bridge will be closed shortly after March 19 until the end of August as the second phase of construction resumes on the $6.7 million project, severing a major artery through the centre of Camrose.
"It's going to be a significant impact to how the Camrose road network works," said City of Camrose Director of Engineering Services Jeremy Enarson. "In recent history we have never had a major closure of this section of 48 Avenue for this long … We have a pretty good idea of where the traffic is going to go and how much traffic is going to go in each direction, but for each of the bypass routes we really do not know how much additional traffic is going to go in each direction until the actual closure is in place and we see where people start to drive."
48 Avenue will be shutdown between the intersections of 53 Street and 51 Street to allow workers to complete the bridge replacement.
The current bridge is more than 50 years old and has reached the end of its life span. Workers will also be widening the bridge from four lanes to six while the roadway will be raised by as much as 1.45 metres. This will reduce the slope of 48 Avenue for eastbound traffic approaching 51 Street.
An underground pedestrian bypass will also be installed on the east side of the bridge to allow that will connect the paved trails on either side of road, eliminating the need to cross in the crosswalk.
The project began this past summer as the land surrounding the new footprint of the bridge was reinforced with rocks and backfill.
The work is being done by PSA Construction Inc. while the elements of the bridge are being fabricated in Central Alberta, including the steel girders and the pedestrian underpass.
The City anticipates much of the current traffic on 48 Avenue will be diverted to Camrose Drive, Grand Drive, 68 Street, and several other routes.
"Our hope is that, especially the local residents within Camrose can use some of the bypass routes that are a little bit further away from the construction site," said Enarson.
The construction will last through the summer which means will be going on during Big Valley Jamboree, though the City has been working with festival organizers to ensure a plan is in place for concert goers.
"The main route into the Camrose Regional Exhibition … we do direct traffic onto 68 Street into Camrose Drive," said Enarson. "It mostly won't effect them. Once the RVs have been dropped, many of the people attending Big Valley would actually come back into Camrose. It’s just like any other busy weekend, that road closure is going to effect everybody, not just those that are local."
There will be some businesses affected by the closed road, most notable Wild Rose Co-op on 48 Avenue and 51 street. The City has actually worked it into the construction contraction coordination with Co-op for an exit from the South end of their property onto 48 Avenue to remain open for their customers.
"They will eventually turn east back towards 51 Street," said Enarson. "The contractor has to work to minimize the impact to that business."
The other concern is access to St. Mary's Hospital and the Recreation Centre on 53 Street, but Enarson says they are working to mitigate those issues.
"I can see a day or so sometime during the project (where it will close), but 53 Street on to 48 Avenue will remain open pretty much at all times," said Enarson. "The same thing with the intersection at 51 Street and 48 Avenue, that intersection is going to remain open pretty much at all times."