Highway 417 widening; Lees on-ramp to close next month

 The project to widen Highway 417 between Nicholas Street and the 417-Highway178 split has begun.

Old Ottawa East will see only a small part of that project but there will be major implications for the community. Among these will be the closure of the Lees Avenue on-ramp to the eastbound 417, and the replacement of the Lees Avenue bridge over the highway.

The 417 eastbound on-ramp from Lees Avenue will be closed from late June 2013 until 2017.

As a result, traffic normally entering the eastbound 417 at Lees Avenue will have to find alternate routes, many of which are expected to go through Old Ottawa East. This extra traffic could add to the congestion from Main Street reconstruction during 2014 and 2015.

The reason for the on-ramp closure is safety, according to representatives of McCormick Rankin Corporation, the consultants hired by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to design the project.

The Lees Avenue on-ramp feeds the Nicholas Street eastbound on-ramp, which then feeds the 417. It was considered unsafe to have that many cars feeding a construction zone.

The Highway 417 widening project will take two years. It will result in an additional lane in each direction between Nicholas Street and the split.

However, once the new 417 eastbound lane is completed, it will be taken over by OCTranspo for use as a temporary transit lane until the completion of the light rail transit project in 2017. At that time, it is expected the Lees Avenue eastbound on-ramp will reopen.

The other major impact of 417 construction on Old Ottawa East will be the closure of the Lees Avenue bridge over the highway. This is the bridge in front of the University of Ottawa’s Lees Avenue Campus.

The bridge will be closed for 10-12 weeks sometime during 2014 to allow a new bridge to be built.

Highway 417 itself will be closed for up to 16 hours some days during 2014 to allow for the rapid replacement of the bridge.

Background information on the 417 widening can be found at www.queenswayexpansioneast.com.

 

 

 

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