Fredericton bridge repair will push final work on Regent Street to 2025

Construction on the Princess Margaret Bridge by the province this summer will mean more work on Regent Street in downtown Fredericton next year.The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure project will close the Princess Margaret, one of the two bridges connecting the city’s north and south sides, for five weeks starting in May.  Melissa Steeves, assistant manager of engineering, design and construction, said the city wants to avoid closing a section of Regent Street during the anticipated traffic spike on the Westmorland Street Bridge, while the other bridge is down.But that means work on the final phase of Regent will get a late start, so it will have to be completed in 2025, Steeves said. “We want to make sure that what we have on the book can be accomplished in the amount of time that we have to accomplish it,” she said. During peak times, commuter traffic is heavy on the Princess Margaret Bridge. (Ed Hunter/CBC)The Regent Street work is just one of many projects slated for what Steeves called a very full construction season, which will extend through summer into fall. Where to expect construction this yearRegent Street will see a closure between George Street and Churchill Row this season. The remaining work, up to Aberdeen Street, will be completed next year.A late start on the planned final phase of Regent Street this year will mean the remainder will have to be completed in 2025. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)Officers’ Square construction will continue on the great lawn, but is slated to wrap up on time for a July 1 opening.A new major project will get underway on Northumberland Street, from Queen Street to Brunswick Street. The finished project will see the King and Northumberland intersection changed to an all-way stop with an upgraded pedestrian walkway. There will also be a closure on Woodstock Road, from Garden Creek School to Stillwater Crescent, as the city upgrades the storm sewer and ditches.Fredericton northRiverside Drive will again see construction to raise the road to mitigate flooding, this year from Sumac Street to Corbett Avenue. That work won’t begin until the Princess Margaret Bridge reopens, as Riverside Drive will be part of the detour. More work is planned for Main Street, which will close on June 18 from Hawkins Street to Seymour Street. The city is also adding a roundabout near Killarney Lake, at Brookside Drive and St. Mary’s Street, which will close Brookside north of Glennorth Street. “It is a high-speed intersection. There have been a fair number of severe collisions here as well,” said Tyson Aubie, city traffic engineer. “This one ranked high on our list of projects we wanted to get accomplished for that road safety perspective.” Expect detoursDespite efforts to spread the projects out, Steeves said to expect major detours, along with the familiar noise, dust and travel delays. Aubie said congestion on the Westmorland Street Bridge is of particular concern when the other bridge is closed.”It is important to understand that [the Princess Margaret] is a major link across the river, and it will have impacts,” he said. “We’ve been working together on traffic mitigation plans … to try and ease this congestion.”Last year’s construction season drew criticism from councillors and local businesses as the Regent Street project took longer than expected.Steeves said a combination of rainy weather, complicated projects and unexpected infrastructure issues made for a difficult season.The Officers’ Square project, initially targeted for completion in fall 2023, is expected to open by July 1. (City of Fredericton)A council request to find ways to keep projects on schedule prompted city staff to present a Review and Mitigation Plan at a committee meeting last month. Among the items in the plan is to begin using a request for proposals process for major projects like Regent Street. That will mean contractor proposals will be scored not just by price point, but also for how quickly work will be completed.”They submit a schedule, they submit a work plan, they submit mitigation plans. So, how, if they run into issues, are they going to solve some of those problems?” Steeves said. “On top of that they obviously submit a price, but we evaluate other components of the proposal first. It’s not just lowest price wins.” 

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