Timelines unclear as LaSalle Causeway work to happen in phases

On Monday afternoon, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) provided an update on the LaSalle Causeway closure and the ongoing work to repair it.

While PSPC provided some details on the work that needs to be done, and will be completed in phases, the update provides no further clarity on how long repairs will take.

"PSPC and its dedicated team of specialized engineers and contractors have begun work on the repairs for the Bascule Bridge through a phased approach," the release reads.

"The first phase involves strengthening various elements of the bridge and completing key existing contract work to prepare for repairing the damaged element... The second phase will involve repairing the damage suffered on the diagonal steel element, and then strengthening it."

PSPC says it's necessary to do the work in phases as the heavy equipment needed for phase two repairs need to be safely supported by the bridge itself first.

The release states that PSPC is continuing to "explore options" to resuming safe pedestrian access to the bridge with work ongoing, it's unclear whether the first phase of work would need to be completed for that to occur, or if there could be limited vehicle access for crossing the Causeway at any point during construction.

The update provides no further info into how long construction might take.

"Although timelines to complete repairs remain unknown, our teams continue to work diligently to reopen the bridge as soon as possible. Timelines, once known, will be communicated in a future public notice," the release states.

Meanwhile the City of Kingston has made some changes nearby Waaban Crossing in an effort to relieve traffic crossing the city's newest bridge, which resulted in gridlock at the busiest of times even before being compounded the Causeway closure.

On Friday afternoon, the city sent out a media release in light of the traffic disruptions caused by the LaSalle closure, saying they were "empathetic to the travel delays" it creates.

In response, they've made changes to the traffic light systems near the Third Crossing.

In addition to two Kingston Transit routes (Express 601/602 and 12A) requiring detours, the city has announced the following changes to traffic lights at a pair of intersections where Crossing traffic tends to pile up:

During morning peak hours, the intersection will have an increase in green time for westbound left turns, extending cycle lengths and reallocating green time from eastbound through movements in the afternoon.

Addressing congestion during peak periods, additional green light time was created for northbound left turns in an aim to enhance traffic flow efficiency.

During off-peak hours including midday, evenings and weekends, there will be more time allotted to westbound left turns at Montreal Street and John Counter Boulevard, and northbound left turns at Hwy. 15 and Gore Road. Additionally, from midnight to 6 a.m. daily, traffic signal time is shorter.

Several commenters on social media said changes to the lights were overdue, as even before the Causeway closure traffic would routinely get backed up from Montreal Street on the way to the Waaban Crossing.

Updates to the repair schedule of the Causeway will be shared as they are known.

The PSPC said the Causeway would be closed for "several weeks" on April 4.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK News