Major Saint John routes to close during construction season

Motorists in Saint John are being warned to expect a difficult road construction season as two of the city's major arteries will be closed at different times this summer.

Loch Lomond Road and Westmorland Road will be closed completely to traffic at times, a move that could create a chaotic situation for commuters and people travelling to and from the city's major east side shopping district.

"Traffic disruption from some of these projects will be quite significant," said Mike Hugenholtz, the city's commissioner of transportation.

"Make plans during the day to either avoid those areas or allow for extra time during those commutes."

Hugenholtz said weekly construction updates are available on the city's website.

While pavement resurfacing will bring lane closures across the city, it is water main work, part of the city's Safe Clean Drinking Water program, that will cause complete traffic shutdowns, mostly in east Saint John.

Coun. Donna Reardon said she is particularly concerned about Loch Lomond Road, a busy commuting artery into the city centre.

Reardon sits on the board of directors of Saint John Transit which, she said, still does not have a plan to deal with the disruption.

There should be a way, she says, to keep the route open, if only for buses.

"It's a major line shut down for between 120 and 160 days," said Reardon.

"Maybe we'll have to treat buses as a priority vehicle along there, I don't know what we'll do but something has to happen there."

Brent McGovern, the Saint John water commissioner,  said public meetings are being arranged to brief people who will be affected, including residents along Westmorland Road, Northumberland Avenue, McLaughlin Crescent and Barbara Crescent.

The meeting will lay out plans to temporarily remove barricades put in place years ago on nearby McLean Street to allow traffic to get in and out of the area via Rothesay Avenue during the construction.

City council will be asked to approve that plan at a meeting on April 18.

Some road work is expected to begin later this month.