Ottawa – At today’s City Council meeting, Mayor Jim Watson outlined progress and next steps for Highway 174. This includes opening one eastbound lane of the highway later today, and undertaking reviews of the failure itself and similar infrastructure.
“We thank residents for their continued patience and understanding as we deal with this issue,” said Mayor Watson. “I want to also thank City staff for their hard work in helping residents navigate a much more challenging commute than usual.”
A number of measures are being put in place to ease commuting for east end residents:
- By 3 p.m. today, one eastbound lane of Highway 174 will be re-opened starting at Montreal Road. The lane will be open between 3 and 8 p.m. daily for the evening commute. There will be a detour into the westbound lanes around the construction site at Jeanne D'Arc and subsequently back onto 174 eastbound beyond Jeanne D'Arc.
- Two new double-decker OC Transpo buses have been put into service for express routes to and from the east end
- Capacity has been increased on Route 95
- 360 new parking spaces have been added at the Trim Road Park and Ride
With crews continuing to work around the clock, the City of Ottawa is still on schedule to re-open the road.
“We have made much progress on repairing Highway 174 in a short period of time, but we also need to provide a way forward to ensure this does not happen again,” said Mayor Watson. “We need to do everything that we can to maintain public confidence in the City’s critical transportation, water, sewer and other infrastructure.”
Earlier this week, Mayor Watson requested that the City Manager provide:
- By September 30, 2012: an immediate inspection of similar City infrastructure located along critical City roads
- Within 90 days: an independent investigation to identify the root cause of the Highway 174 failure and to determine what, if anything, the City could have done differently
Staff will not wait for the root cause analysis before fixing any pipes that require maintenance. However, the independent investigation will help the City determine if any changes need to be made to its inspection procedures.
These reports are in addition to an overview of the City’s asset management strategy that will be discussed by the Finance and Economic Development Committee on September 19. This is a term of Council priority, which Mayor Watson asked be expedited to this month.
“This timeline allows City staff to focus on the important work of repairing and reopening Highway 174, while answering the questions on the minds of all residents,” said Orléans Councillor Bob Monette.
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