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River Street expected to reopen in spring

Crews will continue some work over the winter on a section of River Street that’s been closed since May of 2022, with the city projecting the arterial roadway will reopen before summer.

THUNDER BAY — A section of River Street that collapsed last May is expected to be open again by the end of spring, thanks in part to construction work that will continue through the winter.

The city is spending an estimated $2.5 million to replace a twin culvert that carried the waters of McVicar Creek under the roadway, after it collapsed on May 5 following heavy spring flooding.

The previous twin 15-foot culverts are set to be replaced with a single structural multi-plate metal arch, mounted on concrete footings.

Workers recently installed a bridge to support utilities, including Tbaytel and Enbridge Gas infrastructure, and are now excavating the area around the culvert before removing it.

Recent unseasonably warm temperatures have been a help, said project engineer Mike Vogrig.

“While the weather’s good, we’re trying to get as much excavation and removal done. If we run into some bad weather, we might pause the work for a little bit. The intent right now is to get the site prepped and ready for pouring concrete, and then we’ll play it by ear in terms of the temperatures.”

As temperatures approach zero again, Vogrig said, crews will move forward with pouring the new archway’s concrete footings, building the arch, and backfilling, before rebuilding the roadway.

Vogrig said concrete pouring is likely to begin in March or April.

“We would expect probably late spring for it to be complete, depending on how the weather turns out,” he said of a timeline to complete the entire project.

“It is a major arterial road and obviously it’s been closed for some time now, so we’d like to get it back open.”

City engineers had initially expressed some hope last year that with favourable conditions, the project could be completed in 2022.


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