Crews complete ambitious road project

NANAIMO: New Quarterway Bridge, four-lanes of traffic highlight $11.1-million widening of Bowen Road.

Tristan Harris

Tristan Harris

Two years of construction and $11 million later, one of the city’s most ambitious road projects is now complete.

Jan Mongard, project manager, along with city dignitaries and staff, officially opened the widened portion of Bowen Road and Quarterway Bridge Thursday morning, allowing traffic to pass over all four lanes of traffic for the first time.

Mongard called the project one of the most challenging civil infrastructure projects Nanaimo has taken on. It was also one of the most lengthy.

“We’re happy to give it back to the community,” said Mongard. “We have a running joke about the duration of the project because so much has changed. Our secretary had another child, one person has retired and my inspector now needs glasses to read so those are measures, for us, of the length of time this project has taken.”

Improvements to the roadway include sidewalks on both sides of the road for pedestrians, new signals at Bowen and Buttertubs roads, improved signals at Bowen and Pryde Avenue, a new, larger bridge to replace the 65-year-old Quarterway Bridge, streetlights and landscaping. The curb lanes are 4.3 metres wide, which accommodate a bike lane, but Mongard said the plans only called for bike positioning identifiers at intersections, not paint defining bike lanes.

“It wasn’t part of my drawings but others may decide to paint bike lines,” he said.

Final touches, including landscaping and line painting, will complete the project, which has a deadline of Oct. 31. Drivers are asked to continue to respect road crews as they finish up. About 15,000 vehicles pass through the corridor each day.

The project was originally budgeted for in the city’s 2010-2014 capital plan.

Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan said the city appreciates the cooperation businesses affected by the construction over the last several months.

“I appreciate the cooperation from the local businesses, the hard work by Hazelwood Construction and their subcontractors, and the dedication of city staff and their team of consultants,” said Ruttan. “The resulting upgrades to the Quarterway Bridge, Bowen Road, and underground services represent a key step forward in council’s commitment to replacing outdated infrastructure.”

Along with 800 metres of expanded four-lane roadway and a turning lane, as well as the new bridge, the project included 990 metres of water main, 1,130 metres of sanitary main line, 1,560 metres of storm main, and a landscaped boulevard.

Bowen west field, used as a staging area during construction, will also have new turf and improved drainage for future recreational use.

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