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Centennial hub of planned reconstruction

By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Centennial Parkway may not be the place to be over the next few years as a perfect storm of construction hits the area. As the nearby retail complex is taking shape on the former Waxman Industrial Services scrap yard, and with plans to begin replacing the CN Railways bridge that spans the roadway, Centennial Parkway is due for significant improvements after years of delay.

“It has been in the works for so long,” said Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins. “The sidewalks for Centennial have been on the capital books since 1998.”

Centennial Parkway had been slated to get a facelift at the beginning of the decade, but the Red Hill Parkway needed to be built first. For that project to move forward, traffic had to continue along Centennial until the roadway was opened in 2007. Now Barton Street from Nash to Centennial has to be upgraded so there is another delay, said Collins. That project will cost about $2.7 million this year.

But the city has budgeted $2.6 million for improvements to be made in 2013 along Centennial Parkway from Arrowsmith to Goderich.

Eventually, Collins said, the goal is to eliminate all the centre medians along Centennial to create more free-flowing traffic, including by allowing vehicles to make left-hand turns from businesses located along the area.

“Access has been a real issue along there,” said Collins.

The largest project in Ward 5 remains the redevelopment of Centennial Parkway from King to Barton, with the design process set for 2013 and work beginning in 2014 and 2015.

The city has budgeted $9.4 million in 2013 and 2014 to coincide with the CN Railways bridge replacement project. The complicated endeavor involves building a bypass around the bridge, through the Home Depot parking lot, uphill to the tracks and down the other

side. There will also be pedestrian access.

The road underneath the bridge will be closed, traffic will be rerouted to the bypass and the bridge will be reconstructed.

Collins said he will be scheduling a public information session later this year to inform residents of the planned changes.

The roadwork comes on top of the new hotel and retail stores that will be completed this year at the Smart Centres property, including a Buffalo Wild Wing, a Mucho Burrito franchise, a Five Guys Burger and Fries and Extreme Pita. A 43,000-square-foot Toys R Us is expected to open this fall to join the WalMart that is already up and operating.

Collins also hopes that work begins on re-developing Confederation Park, including the entrance to the public facility. Although still in the design stage, proposals include creating a bus route through the park, improving the entrance and creating more park amenities.

Another capital project expected to happen this year is completing phase two of the Sam Manson Parks design plan, which includes replacing the small shack at the Nash Road and Nugent Drive facility.

“We need to have a larger building for groups,” he said.

It is also expected the city will install an irrigation system for the soccer field located at the park, he said.

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