The intersection that provides access to Thornbury’s Foodland and LCBO has been labelled as hazardous and in need of reconstruction.
“We have had some accidents there in recent years so we're looking at this as an opportunity to clean up that intersection,” said Shawn Carey, director of operations for the Town of The Blue Mountains (TBM) during a recent committee of the whole meeting.
Over the past few years, Beaver Street South in Thornbury has been subjected to a traffic study and a preliminary engineering report due to its angled position and problematic five-point intersection.
“The traffic study identified unsafe intersections at Beaver/Victoria; Beaver/Louisa as well as Beaver/Alice/Lansdowne,” said Michael Campbell, construction coordinator for TBM.
The preliminary engineering report is recommending TBM close Beaver Street from Victoria Street to Louisa Street, reconstruct the entrance to Foodland/LCBO to Victoria Street and terminate Beaver Street north of Alice Street.
TBM is currently in the process of upgrading town infrastructure through its Thornbury West Road Reconstruction project, which will see a service extension from the Victoria/Louisa intersection to Beaver Street, 100-metres south of Louisa Street.
TBM staff are recommending the reconstruction of Beaver Street South and its associated intersections be added to the current Thornbury West Road Reconstruction project.
Staff say by combining Beaver and Louisa with the larger project, the engineering fees will be significantly reduced compared to this work being undertaken as a standalone project.
Tatham Engineering has provided TBM with a proposal for the final engineering and project management. The engineering proposal and the preliminary construction estimate totals $1.13 million.
“The Thornbury West Road Reconstruction project was created in 2020 by combining the Elma and Alice Street and Victoria and Louisa Street Reconstruction projects for a total budget of $12,189,400. Staff are recommending that this budget be increased by $1.13 million to cover the engineering and construction costs to upgrade and stop-up and close Beaver Street,” explained Campbell.
Campbell added that an exact funding break-down can’t be provided at this time until more of the engineering work is completed.
Reconstruction of Beaver Street South is expected to include: storm sewers, an 8.5-metre width asphalt surface, one sidewalk, streetlights, and street trees.
The entrance to the Foodland and LCBO parking lot would be relocated from Bruce Street South to Victoria Street.
“The main entry access and egress to the Foodland is off of Highway 26. This is a secondary access,” Campbell stated, adding that the reconstruction will also address active transportation.
“Currently a sidewalk is present on Beaver Street between Napier Street and Alice Street. This sidewalk was constructed by the developer of the Far Hills development, but it does not connect to the town’s active transportation network. By advancing the reconstruction of Beaver Street this gap in the active transportation network would be addressed,” Campbell said.
“The road would not have to extend to Alice Street, which would provide an opportunity to plant trees in the right of way that could be used as a parkette and improve the urban tree canopy,” he continued.
A recent staff report also outlines an opportunity to augment the active transportation connection through this section of Beaver Street with park benches or other amenities to create a gathering place for local residents.
“With the surrounding developments being medium-to-high density; a parkette of this nature could be well used,” said Campbell.
Project plans also include realigning Lansdowne Street and Beaver Street slightly, in order to produce “acceptable geometry” for the intersection.
Under the proposed plan, Beaver Street would be terminated at a location north of Alice Street and a cul-de-sac would be created to retain access to 51 and 52 Beaver Street.
In 2013, when Sobeys was applying for site plan approvals for the Foodland property with the town, the corporation wanted to purchase Beaver Street South and the triangle parcel of land between it and Victoria Street for more retail space development. Ultimately, Sobeys withdrew its application to purchase the land because of public backlash in opposition to losing Beaver Street South.
A tender for construction of the project is expected to be issued in the fall of this year with construction set to begin in 2022/2023.
TBM council recently passed a motion to receive the traffic study and engineering report, and directed TBM staff to add the reconstruction of Beaver Street between Victoria Street and Alice Street and Louisa Street between Victoria Street and Beaver Street to the Thornbury West Phase 1 Reconstruction Project, to increase the project budget by $1.13 million and initiate the public consultation process.
As such, a public meeting is scheduled for July 12 at 5 p.m.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca