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Elgin Street Renewal

Project Status: 

Free parking at City Hall

Free parking is available at the City Hall garage at 110 Laurier Avenue West on weekday evenings after 6 pm and all day on weekends. Offering free parking at City Hall will assist residents and businesses during the renewal of Elgin Street, which is seeing partial road closures and reduced parking continuing into next year. Free parking is expected to be in place until the end of 2019.

Stay informed! Sign up for the Elgin Street renewal e-newsletter.

Project overview

Integrated road, sewer and water project

Project description

The City of Ottawa is undertaking the design and construction for the renewal of Elgin Street from Gloucester Street to Isabella Street. This project also includes the renewal of Waverley Street from Elgin Street to Metcalfe Street through Jack Purcell Park, as well as roadway renewal on Isabella Street from Elgin Street to Queen Elizabeth Driveway. The existing underground linear infrastructure, some of which dates back to 1874, has reached the end of its useful life-cycle and is in need of reconstruction. 

Specifically, the works proposed include:

  • Wider sidewalks, shared use lanes (for cycling and vehicles), and transit facilities (bus stops, bus pads and shelters)
  • Traffic control signal system and traffic calming measures including raised intersections, narrowing lanes and reduced speed limit (30 km/h from Lisgar Street to McLeod Street)
  • Flexible space to accommodate on-street parking, patios or other seasonal uses
  • Streetscape enhancements and street amenities including landscaping (such as tree planting, and hardscape features), public art and street furniture (including benches, waste receptacles, and bicycle racks)
  • Watermains, sanitary, storm and combined sewers
  • Utility reconstruction (Hydro Ottawa, Bell, Rogers, Enbridge)
  • Street lighting and signage
  • Road structure and pavement

The proposed project limits are as outlined in the Key Map [ PDF – 206 KB ].

This project will be guided by the work completed as part of the Elgin Street functional design plan which was approved by City of Ottawa Council in May 2017.

The approved functional design for Elgin Street was a product of an extensive study process, which included consultation with the public.

Project purpose

The purpose of the project is to prepare drawings and specifications for the reconstruction of the aforementioned streets. This includes the layout of the surface elements including sidewalk, cycling, transit and vehicle provisions, street lighting and streetscape improvements, and solutions for underground linear municipal infrastructure and affected overhead and underground utilities. Construction staging and traffic (pedestrian, transit, and vehicular) management methods are also to be investigated to minimize disruption during the construction period. For Elgin Street, the project limits will be subject to a full road closure for all of 2019, and lane reductions in 2018 and 2020.

Anticipated project schedule

Site investigations (soils, field surveys, condition assessments, investigations of existing sewers) : Winter 2018

Utility relocations: Early 2018 – Fall 2018

Design completion: Fall 2018

Construction commencement: Early 2019

Primary construction season: January to December 2019 (full road closure for all of 2019 to complete underground works and roadway)

Final Construction Season: Spring to Fall 2020 (partial/periodic road closures or lane reductions, to complete final asphalt lift, landscaping, streetscaping, street lighting, public art installation, and additional required reinstatements)


Project funds approved to date are $36.3 million.

Public involvement and engagement

A public information session will be held in mid-2018 to present the preliminary design drawings to the public and to discuss the utility relocation works.

For further information or to provide comments, please contact

Background information (Elgin Street and Hawthorne Avenue functional design study)

For background information please visit the Elgin Street and Hawthorne Avenue Functional Design Study page.

Current traffic impacts

Beginning on Monday, January 7, Elgin Street will be fully closed to traffic from Somerset Street to Catherine Street. Additionally, there will be traffic impacts on Elgin Street between Laurier Avenue and Somerset Street:

  • One southbound lane will remain open along Elgin Street from Laurier Avenue to Somerset Street.
  • The northbound lane on Elgin Street will be closed from Somerset Street to Nepean Street.
  • The exit lane from the City Hall parking garage to Elgin Street will be open. Vehicles will be able to access Elgin Street as usual from Nepean Street.

Beginning on January 7, traffic, transit and cyclist detours will be in place. The City will continually review these measures to ensure that the detours are working effectively. The closure will result in significant traffic impacts. Please be patient, plan ahead and expect delays.

Sidewalks will remain open for pedestrians. Pedestrians will be able to access businesses on both sides of Elgin Street at all times.

Traffic impacts

A traffic detour route has been established for traffic traveling northbound and southbound. In addition, there will be designated street crossings to provide east-west access to destinations next to the construction zone. 

Parking will be prohibited on Elgin Street southbound from Laurier Avenue to Catherine Street, as well as Elgin Street northbound from Catherine Street to Gloucester Street. Free parking is available at City Hall on weekday evenings after 6 pm and all day on weekends and statutory holidays.

Traffic detour map showing north and south detours, as well as designated street crossings across Elgin.

Transit impacts

OC Transpo routes 5 and 14 will be detoured around the road closure. Bus stops and shelters currently located along Elgin Street will be temporarily relocated along the detour routes. Please check for up-to-date route information.

Bus detour map showing routes 5 and 14 detouring around Elgin Street, down Somerset and Cartier to access Queen Elizabeth Drive.

Cyclist impacts

There are many existing cycling facilities around the Elgin Street area, however, there will be a signed cyclist detour route.

Cyclist detour map showing the shared north and south route options along the Queen Elizabeth Drive pathway.

As construction progresses, the traffic management approach will transition to a full closure of Elgin Street from Laurier Avenue to Catherine Street. Once the date for transition has been established it will be communicated.

Stay informed! Sign up for the Elgin Street renewal e-newsletter.


Copies of Notice to Resident letters sent to impacted area.

Learn More

Public Information Session Presentation (November 28, 2018)


  1. Introduction
  2. Words from Transportation Committee Chair Egli and Ward Councillor McKenney
  3. Presentation


  1. Viewing open house exhibits: 4 to 5:55 pm
  2. Presentation of project: 6 to 7 pm (including question/answer period)
  3. Viewing open house exhibits: 7:05 to 8 pm

Presentation overview

Part A: Project background
Part B: Street design overview
Part C: Transportation during construction
Part D: Communications during construction

Part A: Project background

Project limits

  • 1.2 kilometres and 16 city blocks
  • North end: Gloucester Street
  • South end: Queen Elizabeth Drive
  • Plus Waverley Street

Project limits [ PDF - 320 KB ]

Project objectives

  • Design layout of the street mobility and accessibility elements including sidewalk, cycling, transit and vehicle provisions
  • Design streetscape and public realm improvements
  • Design renewal of underground municipal infrastructure and overhead and underground utilities
  • Develop construction period transportation management solutions
  • Develop communication strategies during construction
  • Engagement with stakeholders throughout

May 2017 Council approval

  • City Council approved the functional design on May 10, 2017
  • Decision informed by extensive public consultation
  • Various decisions and directions were provided, including direction for a twelve month expedited construction process and road closure
  • Detailed design process commenced in summer 2017

Key elements of Council approved street design

  • Two general purpose travel lanes plus turning lanes
  • Enhanced public realm
  • 90 flexible parking spaces for parking or patio use only
  • Wide accessible sidewalks
  • Shorter crosswalks
  • Four raised intersections
  • Posted speed limit of 30 kilometres/hour (from Lisgar Street to McLeod Street)

Part B: Street design overview

Prominent downtown location

  • Traditional mainstreet
  • Arterial road
  • Truck route
  • Heritage conservation district
  • Vibrant mixed use community

Rich cultural heritage  [ PDF – 395 KB ]


Elgin Street historical image of its rich cultural heritage.


Elgin Street in its current state.

"The Elgin" sign  [ PDF – 77.3 KB ]

New street furnishings [ PDF – 226 KB ]

New street lighting [ PDF – 338 KB ]

Accessibility through design

  • Implements the City’s Accessibility Design Standards
  • Widened pedestrian clearway
  • Reconstructed intersections, shorter crosswalks
  • New traffic/crosswalk signals
  • Seating areas spaced throughout corridor

Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSI).

the City of Ottawa's Accessibility Design Standards.

Streetscaping elements

streetscaping elements, including benches along Elgin Street.

streetscaping elements, including trees along Elgin Street.

streetscaping elements, including cycling racks along Elgin Street.

streetcaping elements, including cycling racks along Elgin Street.

Somerset and Elgin [ PDF – 803 KB ]

Draft landscape roll plan - greyscale (November 28, 2018) [PDF – 8,321 KB]

Draft landscape roll plan - coloured (November 28, 2018) [PDF – 8,321 KB]

Outdoor patios

  • Wider sidewalks and flexible parking bays to create outdoor patio opportunities

patio opportunities along Elgin Street.

Public art

  • Montreal based artist Francis Montillaud was awarded the Elgin Street Artist in Residence project
  • Members of the public will be invited to take part in the artist’s creative process
Vision for Elgin Street
  • Create a series of sculptures using casts and video of participants
  • Develop sculptures with intense expressions and gestures
Past works by Francis Montillaud

examples of previous art projects, Curiosities, Winnipeg.
examples of previous art projects, Danser avec les etoiles.

examples of previous art projects, Quidproquo, Gatineau.

Burying of overhead utilities

  • The existing overhead utility lines will be buried
  • A street-specific technical case emerged during detailed design
  • Three locations for surface-mount hydro transformer infrastructure
  • Preliminary work is ongoing

the current overhead utilities along Elgin Street.

preliminary work taking place on Elgin Street.

Elgin Street today

what Elgin Street looks like today.

The new vision for Elgin Street

of the vision of Elgin street.

of the vision of Elgin street.

of the vision of Elgin street.

Elgin Street today

what Elgin Street looks like today.

The new vision for Elgin Street

of the vision of Elgin street.

Elgin Street today

what Elgin Street looks like today.

The new vision for Elgin Street

of the vision of Elgin street.

Waverley Street today

what Waverley Street looks like today.

The new vision for Waverley Street

vision for Waverley Street.

vision for Waverley Street.

Part C: Transportation during construction

Transportation management strategy

  • General traffic detour
  • Accessibility
  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Transit
  • Passenger vehicles
  • Pick-ups/Taxis
  • Trucks and deliveries
  • Emergency vehicles

Road closure – 2019

  • January 2019 to December 2019 – 12 month road closure
  • To expedite project, reduce duration of construction period disruption
  • Lessons learned from Bank Street (in Glebe), Wellington Street West (Parkdale Avenue to Holland Avenue)
  • Pedestrian access maintained and businesses open as usual

Road closure locations

  • Traffic will be intercepted and detoured “around” Elgin Street
  • In the north end, the southbound (inlet to Elgin Street) closure will be the south side of Laurier Avenue
  • In the south end, the northbound (inlet to Elgin Street) closure will be at the north side of Catherine Street

Accessible pedestrian routes

  • Access provided to uses on both sides of Elgin Street at all times
  • 2.0 metres minimum pedestrian clearway width maintained and may vary between:
    1. Along the building face
    2. Centre of street

Cycling strategy

  • Parallel and crossing routes maintained:
    • National Capital Commission canal pathways and O’Connor bikeway available
    • Connection to Corktown Footbridge across Elgin Street at Somerset Street
    • Continued use of Gladstone route across Elgin Street
  • Dismount and walk along Elgin Street during construction
  • Bike parking on side street

2020 general traffic and transit detour routes, preliminary plan for Elgin Street

  • Winter – Utility transfer from pole to underground, with Elgin Street re-opened to traffic in both directions, but with temporary and localized disruptions
  • Spring – Finishing works, with Elgin Street open with one-lane southbound only (northbound closed to traffic)
  • Summer – Final works, street reopened to traffic in both directions, with temporary and localized disruptions.

2020 Waverley Street Sewer Works

  • Construction of Waverley Street sanitary sewer planned for late summer/fall 2020
  • Will impact pathways and open space along north side of Jack Purcell Park
  • Park users protected and area will be remediated to existing condition
  • Will involve temporary works within the Metcalfe Street/Waverley Street intersection

Open street crossing locations

  • A limited number of side streets will remain open to cross Elgin Street:
    • Nepean Street
    • Gloucester Street
    • Somerset Street
    • Lewis Street
    • Gladstone Avenue
    • McLeod Street
  • Street crossing locations may vary to enable temporary and localized construction activities
  • Access to City Hall will be maintained

Side street access and parking

  • Other than the crossing locations, side streets will be closed at Elgin with provision made for:
    • Turnarounds
    • Loading zones
    • Pick up and drop off zones
  • On-street parking availability will be reduced on side streets during the construction period
  • 800+ spaces have been made available as free parking at City Hall on evenings and weekends

Mitigation of potential impacts on local streets

The City’s toolbox to manage traffic on local streets during construction includes:

  • General traffic monitoring
  • Regulatory signs
  • Electronic speed survey signs
  • Temporary physical modifications

Part D: Communications during construction

  • Communications liaisons
  • Block captains
  • Newsletters
  • Advisories
  • Website
  • Special events
  • Special tender provisions
  • Promotion

Communication tactics [ PDF – 691 KB ]

  • Working group meetings
  • E-Newsletter
  • Social media (Twitter, Facebook)
  • Letters to Residents (project updates, investigations, field surveys, utility updates)
  • Public Service Announcement (PSA)
  • Project webpage on
  • Public Information Sessions
  • Landowner/business owner drop-in session
  • Door-to-door drop-ins

Next steps

  • Construction start planned for January 2019
  • Activities to commence in January include:
    • Road closure and side street modifications
    • Open pedestrian routes and business open as usual signs
    • Bus detour routes
  • Communications - join the e-newsletter!

Public Information Sessions

Information from past events.

Learn More

Elgin Street and Hawthorne Avenue Functional Design Study

Learn More