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Underpass work to be big project this summer

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Call it a necessary evil, but the $1.4-million repair job to the Portage Avenue underpass will see those travelling to and from the north end of town somewhat inconvenienced this summer.

“The subway, as you can see, is in disrepair,” Raymond Roy, Superintendent of Works (Facilities), said Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re going to be widening it, we’re also going to be deepening it. And we’ll be upgrading the pumps,” he added. “It’s a big undertaking. You’re dealing with a pretty sophisticated structure.”

Roy admitted construction on the main route to the north end of town is going to “lead to some inconveniences,” but it’s a job that has to be done sometime.

“And we’re going to require the contractor maintain access to one lane at all times,” he said.

Roy noted the work has been a long time coming, with reports dating back at least four years calling for the repairs.

Acres Engineering Services prepared a preliminary design report last year, and will continue to prepare plans and construction documents until May, when tenders will be advertised for the job.

Roy said he hopes the tender can be awarded—and the work begin—by mid-June.

The specific changes to the underpass to bring it up to requirements defined by the Transportation Association of Canada for transport trucks will include widening it by 1.67 m, which would mean removing the sidewalk from the east side of the roadway along with a part of the bridge abutment wall, and making it roughly 30 cm deeper.

The pump lift station would be upgraded to handle an inflow of 3.75 cubic feet per second by replacing the two existing pumps with two higher capacity models, and modify the pump suction and discharge piping.

This will require some modifications to the existing piping, pump house wall, and door, and also may require some electrical modifications.

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