Public gets glimpse of $10 million reconstruction plan
By Mark Newman, News Staff
The Mountain’s oldest shopping will be up to its storefronts in work crews and heavy equipment by this time next year.
Concession Street is slated to undergo a massive $10 million reconstruction from just east of Upper Wellington to just west of Upper Sherman starting next April and continuing to the end of 2015.
The 1.6 kilometre project includes road reconstruction, new sidewalks and boulevards, a new water main, some new trees, two new pedestrian-activated cross walks and some traffic calming bump-outs in areas where there is no parking.
In addition, the new sidewalks will feature urban brail, a dark strip that is embedded with shapes and textures to help visually impaired pedestrians navigate their way along the street.
“It’s a very large project,” said Gary Moore, director of engineering in the city’s public works department, who noted the project is long overdue. “I’ve been (with the city) 26 years and I don’t think we’ve done anything on it.”
Moore said crews are currently working to reline those pipes using a material that hardens when steam is added and any sewer pipes that are found to require further repairs will be added to next year’s project.
Moore said the city originally considered spreading the work over two years but decided to do at all next year after speaking to members of the Concession Street Business Improvement Area and area councillor Scott Duvall.
The redevelopment plan was on display at an early evening public open house at the Concession Street library on May 13.
“I think Concession Street needs some revamping,” said retired steelworker and long time area resident Doug Parry, who was particularly pleased to see the addition of new cross walks at East 13th andViewpoint Avenue.
Parry said the stone marking where the Hillcrest Restaurant once stood on the south-west corner of Concession and Upper Wentworth is chipped and he would like to see it fixed as part of the reconstruction work.
“It seems like the city has a pretty well-thought out plan,” said Carlo Gorni, executive director of the Concession Street BIA , which includes about 180 members. “It looks like there has been more greenery (added) to the draft plan which we were calling for.”
Ted Arnold, manger of parking operations with the city, said approximately 100 parking meters along the construction area will be removed during the project.
“The outer housings will be refurbished on all of them,” said Arnold, who noted the meters will continue to accept small change and parking rates will not be affected.
Moore noted due to the timeline for the project crews will likely be working in several areas of street at any given time.
On days when the road is closed to traffic, HSR buses will be rerouted to Queensdale Avenue.
Moore said they will endeavour to keep the entrances to the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre open.
“This is going to bring back life to (the street),” said Duvall. “It’s going to be one of the best looking BIAs I think in the city of Hamilton.”