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Three-year North Street reconstruction project set to begin June 20

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The phased reconstruction of North Street, also known as Oxford County Road 20, is scheduled to begin around June 20.

The first phase, combining phases A & D, will take them to Sept. 30, 2014. It includes a section of North Street from the Ontario Southland Railway tracks, west of Tillson Ave., to the town's eastern limits.

"June 20th is the starting target – mid to late June," said Dadean Assam, Oxford County Manager of Construction. "Water, sewer, roadwork, sidewalks... we're doing some underground work, which is the water mains, sanitary, storm... and then building the road up and doing the curb and sidewalk. There is a lot of work."

The section being reconstructed will have limited traffic, he said.

"People who live within that zone will have access to their properties, but through traffic no. Because at certain times there is a big hole in the road and you can't get through. People who live in that area will have to come in from either way – from the Tillson Ave. side or the railway side – depending on where the hole is."

Businesses remained open during the reconstruction of Simcoe Street, although with less traffic.

The design for next year's work, Phase B, is underway now. The 2015 Phase B portion of North Street reconstruction will include an area roughly between the west side of the railway crossing to roughly Falcon Road.

NORTH STREET ARCHIVES

Back in March 2011, Robert Walton, county director of public works, had said an environment assessment of North Street was expected to begin later that year.

"We're looking at the future needs of the residents in that area and identifying issues that would affect development," said Walton (in 2011), anticipating an increase in traffic with more residential development in the area.

In May 2013, Walton made a presentation in Tillsonburg updating town council on the environmental assessment.

"We're planning on doing road improvements and we're planning on servicing that area with sanitary sewers – both of those components need an environmental assessment," said Walton. "Those are issues around these projects that you need to consult the public about."

The environmental assessment would include North Street from Broadway to the town's eastern limits, outlining possible problems or issues, evaluating solutions, and talking with members of the public to ensure the project was environmentally, socially and economically sound.

Also in 2013, Steve Lund, Tillsonburg's director of operations, said the North Street improvements and upgrades were overdue.

"The roadway needs to be reconstructed – the area needs sanitary sewers, water main and storm drainage improvements. It goes back over 50 years when it was under the Township of Dereham, and a lot of that area was built at the time to different standards that aren't current, so reconstruction of this roadway will bring the servicing and roadway up to current urban standards. It will provide adequate servicing for both existing and proposed development."

"From a technical point of view," Walton continued, "there are four specific breaks in this project, what we're calling phases, and we set it out as a potential four years... (but) we might do the four phases in three years."

The Town of Tillsonburg asked for the project to be completed in three years.

"This section of road is in rough shape," said Walton, noting the project's priority. "There's no doubt about it. The road needs to be re-done and we need to do the upgrades that will allow the development to happen. We need to work with the town to do things like sidewalk improvements."

The combined cost of the project was estimated to be about $11 million.

TILLSON AVE

Work will also be done by the county, through contract, to the southern portion of Tillson Ave.

"That is a maintenance project," said Assam. "It will be localized repair of the bad areas of asphalt, milling it and resurfacing it. A lot of people call it 'shaving' but it's actually milling – removing the top part of the asphalt, then repaving it."

Assam anticipates the Tillson Ave project will begin within the next month.

"We have to get the equipment to do the work. Since we don't have that equipment to do the milling of the asphalt, we have to contract it out."

-- with files from Michael Peeling and Kristine Jean

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