New development in the eastern portion of Pickering, combined with the need for an upgraded road network to serve a potential future Pickering Airport, is the catalyst for one of the largest Durham Region road building projects ever undertaken.
The two-kilometre (1.2-mile) widening and reconstruction of Brock Road north from Rossland Road to the CPR railway tracks started in July and will last until December 2016.
Overall project cost is $20 million, with the project tender value at approximately $13 million, says Mike Hubble, regional project manager.
"This is big stuff for us. Normally our road projects come in at about $5 million."
But it isn’t just the dollar amount which is significant. The project is very complex because of the number and sizing of the accompanying infrastructure piping, he says.
Included in that list is a 300-mm diameter sanitary sewer on Rossland Road, two feeder watermains (1,050-mm and 400-mm), and a 950- to 1,350-mm storm sewer.
It will extend from the north limit of the project south to Rossland Road and then turn and head east approximately 230 metres where it will outlet into a now-being excavated storm water management facility.
The storm sewer is required as Brock Road is being transformed from a two lane rural road with ditches into four lane thoroughfares with curbs and cutters.
Under a cost sharing agreement with the Duffin Heights Landowners Group, however, both the storm sewer and the management pond were oversized to accommodate new development along the Brock Road corridor.
"Brock Road is not in great shape and needs rehabilitation," says Hubble, explaining the region’s own forecasts indicated a need to widen the road to four lanes.
An environmental assessment completed in 2004 said it would ultimately have to be expanded to six lanes at some point in the future.
Three thousand homes, much of it medium density, are being built on both the west and east sides of Brock Road. On the east side, the development will wrap around the Seaton Golf and Country Club. About 30 per cent of the homes have already been built, says Hubble.
Not only was a widened and reconstructed Brock Road needed to handle the new growth, it is also needed to service a possible new Pickering Airport on the Seaton lands to the north and west, he explains.
In preparation for this project the region built an underpass at the CPR line and widened the road north from the railway tracks to Taunton Road a few years ago, says Hubble.
No buildings on Brock Road needed to be demolished for the road widening and reconstruction. But there is a mix of existing and new townhouses and several businesses including the Duffin Meadows Cemetery, the golf course, a temple, and a farmers’ market along the road and there will be some traffic delays and interruption. Measures, however, have been implemented to minimize that disruption, says Hubble.
For example, prior to the commencement of the project, the driveway to the golf club was relocated to connect with a new road which serves the development. And although the cemetery has several entrances, construction can only occur near one entrance at a time.
Prior to the project being tendered the region also paved the shoulders along Brock to allow the contractor to maintain two-way traffic at all times, says Hubble.
Similarly, there will be inconvenience stemming from the year-long closure and levelling of a 300-metre-long stretch of Rossland Road immediately east of where it intersects with Brock Road.
"Currently the grade of the road is over 10 per cent in spots, which is dangerous. The region prefers a five or six per cent grade," says Hubble, explaining some other low-lying sections will actually have to be raised to reach the six per cent standard.
Only residents and buses and other traffic heading to the St. Wilfrid Catholic Elementary School will be allowed through. Non-resident drivers will be diverted, he says.
At the peak of the project there will be approximately 18 pieces of heavy equipment on site and that peak was expected to start last month and continue until the end of the year with the simultaneous Rossland Road levelling and the storm management pond construction, says Hubble.
Other work to be undertaken by Elirpa Construction will include the erection of retaining walls adjacent to two sets of Ontario Hydro towers and the construction of multi-use trails on both the east and west sides of Brock Road.