Staff Report #7
August 26, 2020
To All Commissioners
Re: 2020 Road Construction Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
LTC administration has been working 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. LTC administration attends weekly conference calls with civic administration specifically to discuss the impacts of ongoing and upcoming downtown construction projects.
While the impacts of the 2020 construction projects have not been as significant as expected to date due to reductions in both vehicle traffic as well as the number of buses on the road, it is anticipated that the impacts will start to be realized as more businesses continue to open as a result of COVID-19 restrictions easing.
Work on Richmond between York and Dundas commenced on May 4, 2020 and is projected to be completed at the end of November 2020. Routes 4, 6 and 15 were impacted with the start of Phase I between York and King, resulting in detours both northbound and southbound. Schedule adherence issues continue to be minimal with the reduced traffic volumes through the core.
Phase II of the construction commenced on July 6, 2020 which resulted in the full closure of King and Richmond, Initially it was anticipated that Phase II of construction would be completed by Labour Day, recently the scheduled completion date for Phase II has been pushed to September 15, 2020 and may be extended further as construction progresses. In addition to the above noted routes impacted by Phase I, Routes 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 19 and 20 are impacted in the eastbound direction and Routes 3, 13 and 90 are impacted southbound. The detour routing is utilizing Ridout and York for both southbound and eastbound buses which limits connectivity in the core for transfers. Additionally, all other vehicle traffic is utilizing the same detour routing resulting in increased congestion. To date, the schedule adherence impact has been limited. The Planning department will continue to monitor impacts of the construction and resulting detour and make adjustments to limit schedule adherence impacts as required and resources allow.
Phase III of construction commenced on August 14, 2020. As a result, all of the above noted detours for all northbound, southbound and eastbound routes will remain in effect until the King Street intersection is reopened.
Dundas between English and Ontario
Full road reconstruction has commenced on Dundas between English and Ontario. The detour on Routes 2 and 20 will remain in place until the completion of the project. The original completion date was anticipated to be October 31, 2020; however, this has recently been extended until December 15, 2020 resulting in continued detours of Routes 2, 20 and 94 (Route 94 service will resume on September 8, 2020). As part of the reconstruction, cycle lanes will also be installed along this portion of Dundas, which may have impacts on the current stop locations in this area.
Dundas between Adelaide and Wellington
Cycle Track work commenced August 4, 2020 along Dundas between Adelaide and Wellington. The construction is anticipated to continue through November. During the construction, all shelters within the construction limits will be removed. While it was originally anticipated that routes would be able to continue to operate along Dundas during the construction, due to Dundas being reduced to a single lane in each direction stopping in the construction zone was determined not to be feasible. In order to continue to provide transit service as close as possible to this area, Routes 2, 20 and 94 (Route 94 is resuming September 8, 2020) will be detoured along Queens and King westbound and eastbound respectively. To avoid confusion amongst passengers with changing detours based on the construction phases, all routes will remain on detour between Adelaide and Wellington for the duration of the project.
Work on Wonderland Road between Wharncliffe and Bradley started on May 4, 2020. The work not only affects Route 12, but also has operating impacts for the Wonderland Facility. It is anticipated that the entrances to the Wonderland facility will be impacted during Phase III for approximately two weeks. London Transit is in regular communication with the contractor on the project to ensure that at least one entrance/exit into the facility is maintained at all times throughout the project to ensure that operations can continue out of the facility.
Route 12 is also currently operating on detour as a result of reduced lanes northbound on Wonderland. With the closure of the dedicated turn lane from Wharncliffe to Wonderland the bus turning movements could not be accommodated. The detour adds very limited time to the route and continues to serve all stops along the regular routing.
Wilton Grove Road
Construction on Wilton Grove Road continues and is currently taking place between Commerce and Old Victoria Road. Phase IV of this construction project impacts Route 30 as the intersection of Cheese Factory Road and Wilton Grove Road is currently closed. In order to continue to provide service to the Commerce, Max Brose and Cheese Factory area, Parts Canada has agreed to allow transit buses to utilize their facility as a turn-around location. This allows all businesses in this area to continue to be served and only the stop in front of Parts Canada is missed. A temporary stop has been established on Parts Canada property to ensure businesses to the south are still able to access transit.
On August 17, 2020, road closure signs were installed at the Wilton Grove and Highbury intersection with no advance notice to London Transit regarding the closure. This resulted in an immediate detour being put in place with no service east of Hubrey. Through discussions with the City of London, “London Transit Buses Excepted” signs were installed at Highbury and Wilton Grove to allow transit to continue to operate east of Highbury and provide service to the Commerce, Max Brose and Cheese Factory Road area. A full road closure will be required for approximately two to three weeks, which is currently scheduled to take place the first or second week of September. During the full road closure service will not be provided to the Commerce, Max Brose and Cheese Factory Road area. Due to safety concerns for temporary stop locations as well as limited turn around options, service will not be provided east of Hubrey resulting in approximately a 2 km walk for passengers to the Cheese Factory Road area.
Construction on Sunningdale Road between Richmond and Adelaide is scheduled to commence on Monday August 24, 2020 and is anticipated to last approximately eight weeks. The construction will require a full road closure resulting in Route 19 being detoured in this area. As a result of limited alternative roads in this area that are conducive for transit operations, service along Hastings, Chambers, Bluebell and Sunningdale between BlueBell and Adelaide will be removed for the duration of the construction project. The detour route will have Route 19 operating along Phillbrook to Adelaide and resuming regular route on Thistlewood Drive. This will result in passengers along the affected portion of the route being outside of the 400 meter walk distance to a transit stop. Advanced information signage has been posted on all stops in the affected area to provide customers notice of the removal of service during construction and direction to the closest transit stops.
Western University is currently preparing for road closures between September 7 and September 12, 2020 to allow for O-Week festivities. At time of writing, it is known that University Drive will be closed nightly between 6 pm and 2 am; however, additional road closures including, Huron, Middlesex and Perth could also be possible. Details on the extent of road closures through the University are anticipated to be known by the end of August. Detours will be developed once full impacts of the closures are known
In addition to the closures for O-Week, Western is also in early preparation for the anticipated Broughdale Street party on September 26. As with last year it is anticipated that London Transit will detour buses away from Richmond between Cheapside and Windermere utilizing Adelaide northbound and southbound. While this does remove northbound and southbound service in this area and results in a large detour the safety of our Operators, passengers and equipment is the primary focus.
The underlying goals with respect to communications 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 and implemented with respect to service interruptions in an effort to ensure passengers and bus Operators are aware of the detours with as much advance notice as possible, including stop level notifications of upcoming closures, website and real-time/Infoweb alerts, social media and internal information boards.
Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager