Phase III of Main Street project in Port Dover wraps up
Three summers of traffic disruption in downtown Port Dover will soon be a distant memory now that Phase III of the Main Street rebuild is substantially complete. The final layer of asphalt went down on the $8.5-million project Tuesday and traffic flows are returning to normal. Among those glad it’s over are Port Dover residents Emma Walker, left, and friend Kirsten Ferguson. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
Port Dover has undergone major surgery each summer for the past three years.
According to the Port Dover Board of Trade, the prognosis for recovery is positive.
Road closure signs and traffic pylons remain in and around the core. However, the Hagersville construction firm R.F. Almas put down the final layer of asphalt Tuesday on Phase III of the $8.5 million project.
Once the signs come down and parking and centre-line painting is complete, a 10-block stretch from the No Frills grocery store in the north to the Harbour Street waterfront can look forward to decades of hassle-free motoring.
As well -- with construction nearing an end -- quiet residential neighbourhoods along St. George Street and St. Andrew Street can look forward to a significant reduction in traffic once the detour signs come down.
A major infrastructure overhaul is hard on any downtown business. Consumers tend to take the path of least resistance and will avoid areas that are seriously disrupted.
However, board of trade president Adam Veri says the Port Dover business community has survived intact.
Wednesday, Veri said some businesses suffered worse than others. However, he is unaware of any of the board’s 175 members folding due to traffic disruptions.
“What we wanted to avoid was a collapse of business,” Veri said. “And we achieved that. But everyone felt it. Overall, it could have been a lot worse.”
Port Dover businesses and affected residents will be pleasantly surprised to learn that Main Street will be passable to through traffic in time for the Labour Day long weekend.
Almas was given a deadline of Sept. 29 to finish the section between Greenock Street and Chapman Street but has basically completed the job a month earlier than expected.
“They are almost a month ahead of schedule,” Lee Robinson, Norfolk’s general manager of public works, said Wednesday in an email. “We are very pleased they are working so hard despite less than desirable weather this year.”
Robinson added there were no incentive or penalty clauses in the Phase III contract that might’ve factored into the early finish.
Robinson says the final phase went smoothly with no serious surprises. A small section of asphalt where the contractor didn’t get the gravel-emulsion mixture right has been flagged and will be repaired shortly.
The Main Street road bed has been completely rebuilt. Main Street has been fitted with new sewers, new water mains, new curbs, sidewalks and gutters, and new pavement.
Norfolk County made Main Street a priority after several hard winters caused old water mains to rupture in numerous locations. Public works employees spent many cold nights digging through the pavement and plugging holes where water gushed to the surface.
Asphalt and sidewalks were also badly deteriorated and weren’t making a good impression on the thousands of people who visit Port Dover each year.
The Port Dover Board of Trade will remember Phase II in 2016 as something of a lost opportunity. The board promoted the rebuild in the core as a chance to address the overhead wires that criss-cross the road from Chapman Street to Walker Street.
Norfolk council balked, however, after learning that tidying up the wiring would cost several million dollars. As a consolation, the county has set aside $100,000 in its downtown beautification budget to organize and relocate much of the Nor-Del Cablevision wire suspended over the core.
Norfolk public works is also committed to addressing low spots from Phase II that give rise to ponding when the rain falls or the snow thaws.