A large area of Centretown is flood prone. The area is roughly bounded by the Glebe in the south, Bronson Avenue to the west, Somerset Street in the north and the Rideau Canal to the east. Over 600 reported basement flooding incidents occurred in the area over the past 30 years, and many more were likely unreported.
An Environmental Assessment (EA) completed in 2006 identified a number of infrastructure improvements to help provide additional flood protection for area homes and businesses.
Public consultation took place as part of the legislated process for the EA, including the establishment of a Public Advisory Committee. A number of infrastructure improvements were recommended to improve drainage across the area, and help alleviate basement flooding. Some of these have been completed as part of other renewal projects on Bank Street and Bronson Avenue. Additional measures will also be implemented as part of the upcoming renewal of Elgin Street.
An additional trunk sewer on Gilmour from Elgin to Queen Elizabeth Driveway was included in the recommendations. A trunk sewer is a large pipe that collects flows from smaller sewers to provide drainage to the wider area. An additional sewer is also recommended on Cartier, to connect the existing sewer on Waverley to the new pipe on Gilmour.
Construction of the new sewer is timed with required replacement of the existing sewer and water pipes on Gilmour. The project has now advanced to the construction phase and work is planned to start in March 2016 and be complete by the end of the year. The contract will be tendered shortly.
Construction will require the full excavation of the road from curb to curb on Gilmour, resulting in the removal of parking and closure of the street to all but local traffic. The contractor will be required to maintain a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists during construction. Upon completion, the sidewalk and road will be fully reinstated and all landscaping will be restored.
For questions on the project please contact the City’s project Manager Tara Blasioli at 613-580-2424 ext. 23970 or Tara.Blasioli@ottawa.ca. More information is also available on the project web page at ottawa.ca.
Q: What is the work that will happen?
A: Gilmour Street, from Elgin Street to Queen Elizabeth Driveway, and Cartier Street, from Gilmour Street to Waverley Street, will be undergoing reconstruction in 2016 to renew aging infrastructure and install a new, deep sewer line.
On Gilmour, the existing watermain and local sewers will be replaced as part of this work, and the street and sidewalks will be fully rebuilt. Although some rehabilitation on a section of Gilmour has occurred in previous years, there are pipes in this corridor that date to 1935 and require upgrading.
On Cartier, a new sewer will be installed. The construction on Cartier will be limited to only this pipe installation with trench reinstatement. Cartier will be fully repaved, but no sidewalk work is included on this section.
The new sewer will collect flows from smaller sewers to provide additional capacity and improve drainage for the City’s sewer system and reduce the chance of basement flooding in the Centretown area during major storms.
Information on the project is available at: http://ottawa.ca/en/gilmour-street-and-cartier-street-rehabilitation.
Project rationale/ background
Q: How did this project come to be? Why is this work necessary?
A: Much of Centretown is located in a flood prone area, roughly located from the Glebe in the south, Bronson Avenue to the west, Somerset Street in the north and the Rideau Canal to the east. For residents and businesses in this area, flooding in buildings can range from a moderate to severe concern, depending on the severity of the storm event. Additionally, in some of these older areas, sanitary and storm sewers are combined into one pipe. During major storms, these pipes are overwhelmed and storm water combines with sewage and can sometimes overflow into basements.
To address concerns about basement flooding and backups and improve overall drainage in the Centretown area, the O’Connor Flood Study and Environmental Assessent (EA) was completed in 2006. The study recommended a number of projects over a period of years to improve drainage (and reduce the risk of flooding.) Some of this work has already been completed as part of the Bronson Avenue and Bank Street reconstruction projects. A new sewer on Gilmour from Elgin to Queen Elizabeth Driveway was recommended as one of the improvements that would help to convey storm water runoff from the area to the outlet pipe at Queen Elizabeth Driveway. This line will help to improve the community’s overall resiliency to flooding and provide further protection during major storms for Centretown residents.
The sewer connection on Cartier will help to manage flows in the existing Waverley trunk sewer, and will divert increased volumes during storms to the new sewer on Gilmour.
Q: Why was Gilmour Street chosen as the preferred option for a new sewer?
A: A number of options were looked at for the location of the new trunk sewer. The preferred alignment was assessed based on providing a direct route to the outlet at Queen Elizabeth Driveway, cost of the alignment and coordination with renewal of other underground infrastructure. It was determined that Gilmour Street, from Elgin to Queen Elizabeth Driveway, as well as a section of Cartier Street, from Gilmour to Waverley, would be the most cost-effective alignment, providing a direct route for runoff and to also coincide with required rehabilitation of existing, aging infrastructure.
Q: Were other options considered, specifically Lisgar Street or Cooper Avenue?
A: Gilmour was chosen for the sewer alignment as it is the most cost-effective and can be completed with the needed replacement of the existing sewer and water infrastructure. Locating the sewer on streets north of Somerset would increase the construction costs significantly, and the existing pipes in this area have already been renewed.
Q: What consultation process was followed?
A: Consultation occurred as part of the legislated EA process in 2005. This was a large scale study that looked at the entire O’Connor Flood Study Area, including Gilmour Street. A Public Advisory Committee was in place, and residents from the area were involved. In accordance with provincial legislation, the City advertised and held public consultation meetings.
Q: How will residents gain access to their properties during construction?
A: The contractor is required to maintain a safe and accessible route for all pedestrians and cyclists throughout the construction period.
For vehicles, the road will be closed to all but local traffic to allow residents to access their homes. At some times access to your driveway or your parking garage may not be possible when sewer pipes are being installed in front of your property and when concrete curbs and sidewalks are being installed. In these cases, the contractor is mandated to provide residents with a minimum 24 hour notice. Alternate arrangements for parking will be made should a need arise.
Q: Where will residents park? Will on-street parking be affected?
A: Gilmour Street will be designated a no-parking zone during construction, with permit holders exempted. The City will provide residents with the necessary parking permits, and is looking into alternate arrangements to accommodate resident parking needs during periods when driveways or access to parking garages is not possible. Additional information on alternative parking arrangements will be provided to residents by March 2016. Lewis Street and The Driveway will be designated as a no-stopping zone in order to accommodate two-way vehicular traffic.
The City recognizes that 40 The Driveway and 77 Cartier Street access their underground parking garages via Gilmour Street. Every effort will be made to limit the disruptions for these residents and to provide alternate arrangements, if necessary.
Q: Will there be excessive noise or vibrations as a result of the construction?
A: There is no bedrock in this area, and therefore no blasting or hoe-ramming will be required to excavate. As such, no excessive noise or vibration is expected. The City will, nevertheless, install vibration monitors at critical points along Gilmour Street to monitor vibration levels during construction.
Construction can at times be noisy during equipment operation. The City appreciates residents’ patience as we work to complete the project as quickly as possible.
Q: What impacts will there be to my property?
A: Part of this project includes replacing the sewer and water services that run from the main pipes in the roadway to the property line. In order to accommodate this work, the contractor will need to dig in front of your property, within the City’s road allowance. This may result in the contractor removing portions of driveways, walkways or landscaping features. The contractor is required to reinstate all of the above to match original conditions. Extensive pre-construction photos have already been taken as part of the pre-construction survey documents, and residents are encouraged to take their own photos.
Q: Who is liable for damage to private property?
A: Once the tender is awarded, the winning contractor is responsible for any claims that arise during construction. The contractor must complete pre-construction inspections, complete with video, to gain a comprehensive assessment of the condition of your property before construction begins. Residents will be notified in advance of these inspections taking place.
Q: What about the trees?
A: Every effort is being made to save trees within the Gilmour Street limits. Along Queen Elizabeth Driveway, the loss of four pine trees is unavoidable. The National Capital Commission will undertake replanting in this area as part of their tree planting initiatives, and is scheduled to be completed by spring 2017.
Q: How will snow clearing be managed during construction?
A: The City is not expecting to be undertaking any active construction activities during the winter months. The Gilmour site should be completed in 2016 and is scheduled to be operational by December.
Q: How will people be able to move safely through the work area? Will there be signage or flag persons on site?
A: The contractor is required to provide signage and flag persons as necessary to ensure safe and accessible movement through the site. Upon contract award, the contractor must submit detailed traffic staging plans, which will be reviewed and approved by the City prior to implementation. The contractor is mandated to follow safety regulations set forth by the Province in this regard.
Q: Who will be doing the work?
A: The Gilmour sewer is a City of Ottawa project. A contractor will be hired to lead the construction, but the contract has not been tendered yet. The City expects to be able to announce the successful contractor in early 2016.
Q: How will updates be communicated to the residents?
A: Residents will receive updates and further background information on the project through a number of methods. Further details on the project and EA are available on the City’s website at ottawa.ca. Residents are also encouraged to sign up on the project website for an email newsletter that will provide regular construction updates. A project email address (Gilmourreconstruction@ottawa.ca) will be set up for any questions. Working with the ward Councillor, a working group with residents will also be established to provide information and receive feedback. During construction, the City or contractor may also provide updates on imminent works through hand delivered notices. A drop in session will be held in mid-February, prior to the start of construction activities, to provide further details on the schedule, proposed staging and traffic management plans.
For questions on the project please contact the City’s project Manager Tara Blasioli at 613-580-2424 ext. 23970 or Tara.Blasioli@ottawa.ca.