A fresh round of construction means some Bank Street merchants will be facing their second extended street closure in less than a year.
A $7-million, planned infrastructure renewal project that officially began yesterday is expected to close Bank to vehicle traffic between Somerset Street and Laurier Avenue until mid-November, less than a year after a partial building collapse closed part of the area for around three months.
Merchants still smarting from the light foot traffic that followed the partial collapse of the Duke of Somerset building last year hoped this closure would not impact business in the same way.
“I don’t see it helping traffic, but it’s got to be done,” said John Stephens, General Manager of Henry’s Ottawa, which is close to the intersection. “It’s a little too early to tell at this point.”
The purpose of the work is to replace water mains, sanitary sewers, and storm sewers that were installed in 1875, but it will also result in new road surface, wider sidewalks and new streetlights and trees.
“We’re redoing everything on the street,” said Luke Foley, senior project manager Construction Services West. “We’re giving it a major facelift. It really needs it, everything in the ground is 100 years plus.”
At Gabriel Pizza, which is at the intersection, Marie Thomas said it’s frustrating that businesses will be affected again.
“We can’t sit out on the patio with all the dust and noise,” she said.
While work is being done, OC Transpo is redirecting routes, 1,2,4,7 and 316. Most routes that normally travel north-south will be diverted to Kent Street when travelling south and O’Connor when travelling north, between the closed section of Bank Street.