Road construction (Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / blasbike)

McNaughton Avenue among main construction projects this year

With construction season almost upon us, Chatham-Kent residents can expect a number of roadway projects on the horizon.

Several reconstruction and infrastructure projects have been approved for 2019.

According to Chris Thibert, director of engineering and transportation with the municipality, one of the biggest upcoming projects is a decade in the making.

He said after years of studies and requests from residents, the municipality will begin work on McNaughton Avenue West. Work will include updating and improving the road from Keil Drive and Bear Line as well as installing new traffic signals at Keil Drive and McNaughton Avenue West.

“That has been something that has actually been requested for many, many years,” he explained. “Something the municipality has committed to studying for the past, I believe, 10 years.”

Thibert said the project will improve the area to coincide with the construction of the new Catholic school and children’s treatment centre in the area.

“That project is really going to clean up that northwest quadrant there in Chatham,” Thibert said. “There will be some significant impact to vehicular traffic throughout the construction activity but we’ll make sure to maintain one lane of traffic if at all possible, when at all possible.”

Something Thibert said something else the municipality hears a lot of questions about is fixing residential roads.

“Our hot mix asphalt contract, which is our road resurfacing maintenance type of contract, has a lot of roads in it,” said Thibert. “That’s what we hear from the public a lot ‘when is my road going to be addressed? When is my road going to be fixed?'”

Thibert said many both high and low traffic roads will be repaved throughout the community.

“We’re making sure to address the roads that are in critical shape, that are a major safety concern and get on top of that,” he said.

Some other busy roadways that will be getting attention this year are Bloomfield Road and Richmond Street.

“We’re going to be finishing off what we kind of started the last few years with the improvements to Richmond and Bloomfield in Chatham,” said Thibert. “We’re going to be continuing on Bloomfield south of Richmond up to the railway tracks with some sewer and road works.”

In addition to roads, the municipality has plans to fix and repave a number of sidewalks and parking lots across Chatham-Kent. Thibert said there is also about $11 million worth of bridge construction happening this year

“There’s going to be the restoration and the clean up on the Fifth Street Bridge in Chatham,” he said. “The Thamesville Bridge is going to be wrapping up towards the end of this year as well.”

One major project not on the list for 2019 is addressing the traffic concerns at Queen’s Line and Merlin Road. Thibert is hopeful that next year they will be able to make a safer left turn option for the area.

“That one there wasn’t identified as a priority to complete quite yet. It is something that’s going to get deferred. But we are going to start looking at some design options in hopes that 2020 will be something that we get some money thrown at that and some council direction to proceed,” said Thibert.

Residents who want to keep up to date with construction and road closures can click here to visit the municipality’s interactive map.