Staff Report #5
June 28, 2023
To All Commissioners
Re: 2023 Road Construction and Special Events Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
As has been the case over the past number of years, the City of London will be undertaking a large number of construction projects during the 2023 construction season, many of which will have impacts to transit routes and schedule adherence.
LTC administration works closely with civic administration as well as the specific contractors on each major construction project to ensure regular communication regarding the status of the projects in an effort to mitigate the impact of construction on service and ridership by allowing buses to operate in work zones where it is deemed safe to do so.
Quebec Street Infrastructure Renewal
Construction on Quebec St. between Oxford and the CP Tracks began on Monday April 17. This project, combined with the existing detour in place for the East London Link construction, has had significant impacts on Route 20. With Quebec St. closed north of the tracks and Dundas closed between Ontario St. and Egerton for East London Link, Route 20 has been detoured to York/Florence between William and Kellogg Lane and Dundas between Kellogg Lane and Highbury for the duration of the project. In order to maintain service through the Mornington area, a special Construction Tripper has been added during all operating periods. The Tripper operates between Fanshawe College and the Mornington area to connect with the mainline Route 20 for passengers to be able to complete their travels. While this approach requires passengers to transfer to complete their trips, it is the only option available that allows service to be provided into the Mornington area due to the limited detour options as a result of significant construction happening in this area. There will not be any transit service provided along Quebec during the infrastructure renewal work. Construction is currently scheduled to continue until the end of October; however, finishing work is not anticipated to be completed until December.
Downtown Loop Phase II
Construction on Phase II of the Downtown Loop along Queens Ave between Wellington and Ridout, started in the 2022 construction season. Due to construction delays the project was not able to be completed last year and as such has carried over into the 2023 construction season.
Construction resumed on March 1 with the full closure of Queens Ave between Wellington and Clarence. Additional work will also be occurring at the Queens and Richmond intersection as well as finishing work west of Richmond. In order to provide a consistent detour throughout the construction period and reduce confusion for passengers, all 12 routes normally operating on Queens Ave have been detoured to Dufferin between Waterloo and Ridout.
Queens Ave is scheduled to be reopened on July 31.
East London Link Phase II
East London Link Phase II involves construction on King between Lyle and Ontario St., Ontario St. between King and Dundas and Dundas between Ontario St. and Egerton. Construction began on March 13 with the main impact to transit being the full closure of Dundas between Ontario and Egerton, resulting in the need to detour Routes 2, 20 and 94.
All routes normally operating on Dundas have been detoured to Florence/York between Kellogg Lane and William in both directions. As a result of other planned construction in the area during the 2023 construction season as well as operational turning impacts, the detour extends past the limits of the construction zone.
The construction is anticipated to be completed in December 2023.
Downtown Loop Phase III
Phase III of the Downtown Loop, Wellington between York and Queens Ave began construction early April. Construction work is divided into phases with one lane of traffic being maintained northbound and southbound throughout the duration.
As there is only a single lane in each direction, all transit stops within the construction zone are closed. In an effort to reduce impacts on schedule adherence as well as provide transit stops between York and Queens, buses normally travelling north and south on Wellington will be detoured to Waterloo.
Additionally, with the lane shifts that is required for the construction, it is not operationally feasible for buses travelling eastbound on King to turn onto Wellington and as such, these routes are also detoured to Waterloo.
Construction is anticipated to continue until the end of December.
Wellington Gateway I
Construction on the first phase of the Wellington Gateway Rapid Transit Leg commenced in mid-March, with work taking place between York and the Thames River (north of Grand). As Wellington only has a single vehicle lane in each direction within the limits of the construction work, all northbound and southbound stops in this area are closed for the duration of the project.
Routes 13 and 90 are detoured via Grand, Carfrae/Richmond to maintain schedule adherence and provide stop locations for passengers. Route 1 will maintain regular routing along Wellington in order to continue to access to South Street, Grey Street, and Colborne, noting that there will not be stops on Wellington for Route 1 during construction.
Construction is anticipated to continue until the end of December.
Work continues on the Victoria Bridge reconstruction, with a full closure of Ridout Street. Routes 4, 15 and 104 continue to detour via Grand, Carfrae/Richmond. Work is anticipated to be completed in fall 2023.
Adelaide Street North Underpass
Construction began on the Adelaide Street underpass on April 21, 2022. The temporary by-pass road was opened on September 14, 2022, providing a single lane of traffic on Adelaide between Central and McMahen Street through McMahen Park. As there is only a single lane of traffic, temporary bus stops have not been implemented on the temporary by-pass road. Passengers have been directed to catch the bus at the closest stops north and south of the construction area. The work is currently scheduled to continue through to summer 2025.
Fanshawe and Richmond Intersection Improvements
Work to improve the Fanshawe and Richmond intersection began on May 14. While it is not anticipated that buses in this area will be required to detour during this work, it is anticipated that there will be impacts to schedule adherence due to lane reductions and bus stop locations will have to be modified.
While it was originally anticipated that access to the Masonville Mall terminal would be maintained through the construction project, it has now been determined that starting sometime between June 21 and July 1 the slip lanes that the buses use to access and exit the Masonville Mall Terminal off Richmond will be closed. As a result, all routes normally serving Masonville Mall terminal will have to be detoured via Jacksway and Sunnyside. Buses will also use the detour routing for layovers that would normally have taken place inside the terminal.
The detour will also have impacts on passengers trying to transfer to and from the Route 19 as this route will maintain service along Fanshawe Park Rod.
It is anticipated that the slip lanes will be closed until September or October.
Pond Mills Road- Bradley to Wilton Grove
Construction on Pond Mills Road between Bradley and Wilton Grove started on May 29, 2023 and is anticipated to continue until approximately October 27. In addition, the on ramp at Bradley and Highbury is closed until November 22 resulting in very limited detour options in this area for the Route 30. In order to maintain service to as much of the Industrial area as possible during this construction period the detour is operating along Bradley, Old Victoria Road to Wilton Grove. There will not be transit service along Pond Mills or Enterprise west of Mid-Park during this time. As this is a commuter route to service the Wilton Grove Industrial Area, information has been sent to affected business in the area to advise of potential schedule adherence delays as a result of the detour.
Exeter at White Oak Road
Starting sometime mid to late July there will be a full intersection closure of the Exeter and White Oak Road intersection for approximately 1 week. During this time there will be significant impacts to the Route 28, which will not be able to provide transit service along Exeter between Wharncliffe and White Oak Road, impacting the commercial-industrial area. Due to the limited road network as well as ongoing work on White Oak Road between Exeter and Blakie, there are very limited detour options and as such buses will have to be detoured via Wharncliffe, Legendary, Paulpeel, Bateman, White Oaks Road.
Waterloo between King and Central
Enbridge Gas will be commencing work on Waterloo Street between King and Central to replace a gas line in the southbound lanes in the coming days. Due to work on Wellington for the Rapid Transit project, buses travelling through the downtown have been detoured to Waterloo between King an Dufferin. Administration has had meetings with the City of London and Enbridge with regards to concerns about additional construction happening in the downtown due to limited detour options. Enbridge has assured that they will ensure buses are able to continue to operate on Waterloo for the duration of the work. Administration will continue to have regular communication with Enbridge throughout the construction period which is anticipated to be completed by the end of October.
With the start of the Special Events season in the core, existing construction detours will have to be modified as additional downtown roads are temporarily closed. The goal is to try to have as consistent special events detours as possible to avoid passenger confusion; however, due to ongoing construction in the core coupled with various road closures associated with the special events, some closures will have a greater impact on transit than others.
Below are the upcoming special events and the related impacts:
A number of events will be happening in the downtown area to celebrate Canada Day on Saturday July 1, including the annual Fireworks, the Special Olympics Torch Run and the Turtle Island Healing Walk. These events will result in many roads in the core area being closed, in addition to the ongoing construction closures. As such, transit operations will have very limited options for travel through the core area which will result in transit service moved away from the downtown during the events.
The Final Torch Run routing will be operating between Budweiser Gardens and Labatt Park using the Queens Street Bridge starting at approximately 5pm. As this bridge will also be closed for the Canada Day Fireworks starting at 8pm, the detour will be put in place for 5pm and buses will continue to operate along the detour routing until the end of service to avoid passenger confusion with regards to where to catch the bus.
Communication regarding the temporary changes to the construction detours have been provided to customers and Operators though web posts, social media, the interactive phone system and internal postings. Detailed advance notice information has also posted on the bus stops to advise passengers of the modifications and direct them to the special events routing.
The 27th Annual Pride Parade will be held on Sunday July 23 operating between the Western Fair District and Victoria Park via Dundas, Waterloo and Dufferin. As previously noted, with the ongoing construction in the downtown, buses are currently detoured via Waterloo and Dufferin. The closure of these roads will have a significant impact on transit routing, moving bus service further away from passenger destinations.
Ribfest is set to take place in Victoria Park as well as along Wellington north of Dufferin and Dufferin Ave from August 3 to 7 with road closures starting on August 1 for setup. At this time, Queens Ave is scheduled to be re-opened on July 31. Should all construction work be completed on time, the street closures to accommodate Ribfest will have a limited impact to transit routes through the core. Should Queens Ave not be reopened on July 31 as expected, the detour impacts will be more significant, noting all westbound routes travelling through the core are currently using Dufferin as the detour routing.
Rides On Richmond
The Rides on Richmond Car Show is scheduled to take place on July 23 from approximately 10 am to 3 pm, closing Richmond in both directions between Central and Piccadilly. During this time, all northbound/southbound routes will be detoured to Colborne.
East London Timing Association Street Bash
The East London Timing Association will be holding a Street Bash and Car show on Dundas Street on August 12. The closure of Dundas will affect the current detours for Routes 2 and 20 as a result of the current closures on Dundas and Quebec. During this time, the detour will continue along York Street to Ashland.
The underlying goals with respect to communication regarding detours are to provide passengers and Operators with as much information as far in advance as possible, noting that dates and impacts can change without notice. Accomplishing both of these goals requires a balanced approach. A communication strategy has been developed which, as noted above, includes posting information on internal boards, the website, real-time/Infoweb alerts and social media as well as through stop level notifications which will provide passengers with information regarding which stops are closed and direct them to the closest stop location. On board announcements also indicate to passengers when a bus is starting along a detour routing and when the bus has returned back to regular route.
Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager