Speedvale Avenue is a pretty important street in Guelph, and it needs a lot of work. But infrastructure costs a lot of money these days, and we were going to need a lot of money to start fixing that road even before the added inflationary pressures. The solution? Take it a piece at a time. That’s the word anyway coming from the City of Guelph’s most recent announcement on the subject.
“Water and sewer pipes are expected to last about 80 to 100 years; the pipes under Speedvale Avenue now are 70 to 90 years old,” explained general manager of engineering and transportation services Terry Gayman in a statement. “Replacing pipes before they begin to break is more cost-effective and allows us to install infrastructure that supports future population growth and economic development opportunities.”
It was about this time last year that the City of Guelph announced that the tenders for the reconstruction of Speedvale, including the Speedvale Bridge over the Speed River directly east of Edinburgh Road, came back to the City significantly over budget. Reg Russwurm, the city’s manager of design and construction, said at the time that it would be “at least a year” before the project got back on track, so here we are.
Now, the City is proposing to reconstruct Speedvale in a phased approach working from west to east starting with the portion between Elmira and Imperial. The work, which includes the replacement of the existing watermain, construction of a new storm sewers, and the installation of a new multi-use path is already underway and should be complete by the end of the year.
The biggest piece of this project though remains the reconstruction of the Speedvale Bridge. Last month, city council approved the plan for the Emma-Earl pedestrian bridge, which will be the last piece of the Speedvale renewal project, and the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment requested by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks is now awaiting approval. Construction could begin in either 2024 or 2025.
There was another interesting point in the media release that spoke to the future of the Speedvale Bridge, even post revitalization. “A recent study of the Speedvale Bridge’s structural integrity indicated load restrictions would likely need to be imposed in about five years time. City staff will continue to monitor the bridge condition on an annual basis,” the release said.
In any event, the closure of the Speedvale Bridge will be required for its re-construction, and the City has promised to make sure area residents and businesses are kept well apprised of the progress.
“We understand the impact construction can have on revenue generation, and we’re working hard to build and provide alternate routes during the Speedvale Bridge closing,” Gayman said. “We will do everything we can to support businesses and their customers throughout this important work and the Emma to Earl bridge is one way we can make it as easy as possible for customers to access local businesses.”