Steer clear of these construction hot spots this summer

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Steer clear of these construction hot spots this summer

With the wintry weather finally winding down, it's time to look ahead to the next season in Ottawa — construction.

A number of road projects are either gearing up or already on the go, and the city has issued a handy map to show you how to steer around them. The tool measures traffic headaches by degree of delay: five minutes, 10 minutes, or stop-and-go.

Here are some areas to avoid this summer:

- The Portage Bridge, where a resufacing project will reduce four lanes of traffic and two HOV lanes down to a single lane for traffic and another for buses in each direction. The city said it's working with the NCC to limit major impacts. OC Transpo's Pat Scrimgeour said the worst congestion will likely occur during the afternoon rush hour.

- Walkey Road and St. Laurent Boulevard, where lane reductions will begin in April for gas main relocation, followed by storm sewer work in June. Lane reductions will continue through the summer and into the fall. Foley Avenue between Valley Drive and St. Laurent will also be closed, except for local traffic. 

- In the city's southwest, work on the Richmond Bridge begins next month and will continue into 2019. The bridge will be reduced to one lane with a temporary traffic light, but trucks and OC Transpo buses will be redirected. The bridge will fully close for three to four weeks at some point, but no dates have been set.

- Elgin Street, where a major renewal project is just beginning. Businesses have been vocal about their concerns over the construction that began last month and is set to continue into 2020. Bell Canada's work is set to wrap up by the end of the summer before Hydro Ottawa takes over to replace and relocate many of the hydro poles that line the downtown road. Heavy construction begins early next year, shutting the road between Gloucester and Isabella streets until the end of 2019. The city is urging people to continue supporting Elgin Street businesses during construction, and has offered free parking in the City Hall parking garage after 6 p.m on weekdays and weekends. An information session will take place April 30.

- The Harmer Avenue pedestrian and cycling bridge that crosses Highway 417 between the Civic Hospital and Wellington West, which will be demolished and replaced. Construction is expected to start in May and take two years. The new bridge will be built off-site. The city said the highway will be closed overnight one weekend in June, with traffic detoured to Carling Avenue, then again in September. No specific dates have been released.

- Highway 417 widening between Maitland Avenue and Island Park. The Ministry of Transportation will maintain three lanes in each direction during rush hour.

- The Highway 417 eastbound off-ramp to Carling Avenue, which will be closed for four weeks, and the westbound Carling Avenue on-ramp to the 417, to be closed for nine weeks.

- Merivale Avenue from Carling Avenue to Island Park Drive will be closed for two weekends this summer.

Want to avoid the traffic nightmare altogether? The city suggests taking OC Transpo, cycling, walking or carpooling. Residents who can telecommute or stagger their working hours should consider those options, said transportation committee chair Keith Egli.