Traffic delays expected
P.E.I.’s busiest highway will be reduced to one lane just east of Hunter River for about 11 weeks.
Work has started to replace a damaged metal culvert that runs under Route 2, the Veterans Memorial Highway, in Greenvale, about 2.5 kilometres east of Hunter River.
The replacement of the metal culvert with a much bigger, half-moon-shape precast concrete arch is expected to be completed by April 25, said Neil Lawless, bridge engineer for the Department of Transportation.
“Single-lane traffic will travel through the site, controlled by stop and go traffic lights,” said Lawless.
Maritime Electric trucks were working last week, moving the transmission lines back from the road to make room for cranes that will be used at the site.
About five area residents showed up for a meeting at the Hunter River Lions Hall last Tuesday for an information meeting on the project, said long-time resident Stirling MacRae.
Digging is expected to begin today, residents were told.
“There was a lot of concern about the traffic,” said MacRae of Tuesday’s meeting. “There is an awful lot of traffic goes by here, especially in the evening and mornings, and it’s both ways. There is people (who) work in Summerside and people work in Charlottetown.
“You will likely be hearing a little commotion in the next couple weeks when the traffic gets snarly,” said MacRae. “The people that are driving through will be complaining about the lineups.”
When he asked at the meeting about creating a detour, he was told that people will likely create their own detour with alternate routes. There will be no official detour for this project, the meeting was told.
Springs in the rolling countryside east of Hunter River run north, forming the headwaters of the Wheatley River watershed, gathering into streams and brooks that feed the river.
Long-time resident Harvey Silliphant says the brook that runs under the highway at Greenvale was known locally, years ago, as Barney’s Brook, for the late Barney Wonnacott’s farm that surrounded it. It might also be known a bit further along as MacPherson’s Brook for the late Miller MacPherson’s farm.
In either case, it runs almost unnoticed under Route 2, just a few hundred metres west along the road from the brightly coloured bird houses and wooden folk art at the edge of the driveway into the Stairs residence.
“I was quite surprised to hear that they were going to do it because there hasn’t been, or isn’t now, any dip in the road, the paved part of the highway, but apparently part of the shoulder washed out a bit this past fall, with all the water running down,” said MacRae. “I guess they are looking that it could be a big problem, but I sort of doubt it myself.
“It never flooded,” said MacRae of the brook. “The culvert that was there was always adequate for the freshet, we always called it, that sometimes happens in the spring when the snow is melting.”
He was amused about much of the talk concerning the project, such as the fact the base of the current culvert will be replaced with rock.
“That’s supposed to be good for fish but there has never been many fish up there,” said MacRae.
“It’s only got half a mile to go before there’s no water.”