Things are moving along just as planned; the intersection between Highland Drive and Hawthorne is exactly where it should be, in terms of progress. That is the message Town of Antigonish CAO Jeff Lawrence has for anyone wondering about what has been snarling traffic downtown.
“As I understand it from the director of engineering, we are on schedule,” Lawrence said.
So far, 85 per cent of the sidewalk work, where the work is going on, on the north and west sides of the intersection, is complete.
“The curbing is all formed up and they are laying that, as well,” Lawrence said. “They’re installing light fixtures on that side of the street and preparing the hydrant which will be on that side of the street as well.”
If things keep apace of what has been planned, and continue at their current rate of progression, Lawrence noted the intersection will be completed in time for the Highland Games.
So far, crew members working at the intersection of Main Street and Highland Drive have made progress on digging conduits for traffic lights and constructed bases for the replacements of older traffic lights about to meet the end of their lifespan.
“What will happen is that they will continue to work toward the east, and at some point, that will flip,” Lawrence said. “At that point, we’ll open up that traffic and begin the work on the island and on the other side of the street.”
Lawrence noted he anticipates the work to begin on the opposite side of the street, near the federal building, in about a week or two weeks.
An unfortunate inevitability of the work switching to the island and the other side of the street is that it will make for delays when driving downtown.
“The island is going to be in the center of the road, and it will be difficult to keep two lanes of traffic flowing,” Lawrence said. “As soon as you have that, you have to reduce it to one lane, and it’s going to create delays, especially during rush hour times. There will be more congestion than usual.”
Lawrence noted there are a number of main reasons for the work at the intersection between Hawthorne and Main. The traffic lights there all need replacement; safety concerns over right of way when transitioning south onto Main Street from the intersection, and safety concerns around a low curb to the north side, abutting Hawthorne, at the former location of Panizza.
Lawrence noted part of the project entails the installation of a new fire hydrant on the Whidden’s Campground side of the intersection, to provide better services – and upgrades to storm water drainage around the area of the intersection.
Lawrence took the Casket on a tour of the work site, explaining the finer details of the operation in the chilly, windy drizzly weather last Thursday morning.
When asked if the weather – typical for what has been a cold, wet May – is an impediment to the work at the intersection, Lawrence said, “a day like this wouldn’t cause any angst for crew members. It would have to be more extreme weather to create issues.”
Lawrence noted the weather is always a concern, as well as any other potential delays, and that “it’s important to make every effort we can to have it completed before the Highland Games, on the July 1 weekend.”