Dundas Place construction on track for late fall finish

Construction crews work on phase II of Dundas Place between Wellington Street and Richmond Street, September 11, 2019. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Businesses along a section of Dundas Street that has been torn up for five months won’t have to wait too much longer for the rumble of construction equipment to be silenced and orange fencing to disappear.

The $16 million construction of Dundas Place is more than two-thirds of the way done and is on track to meet its end-of-fall completion date.

“We are progressing very quickly to the Clarence Street intersection,” said Jim Yanchula, the city’s manager of downtown projects. “The first block (between Richmond and Clarence) is tracking very well, the second block between Clarence and Wellington we’re out of the ground in most of the places now and just doing individual connections from the deeply placed services to each individual building.”

Yanchula anticipates the stretch from Richmond Street to Clarence Street will be paved over the next four weeks, with the second block getting its cobblestone four weeks after that.

The second phase of Dundas Place, the city’s first pedestrian-friendly, four-block flex street, began on March 18. Once completed, it will be a curbless street that can be closed to vehicle traffic throughout the year for festivals and special events.

Construction of the first phase, from Ridout to Richmond streets, was completed last December.

The project hasn’t been without a few surprise hiccups though.

“The challenges we have faced mainly are that not everything is mapped below the ground, or if it is it isn’t where it says it is in terms of underground hydro conduits, sewer pipes, water connections to buildings,” said Yanchula. “We had more than 30 coal chutes under the sidewalk that over the years have been covered up or filled in… so we had to either remove them or work around them because they are part of the historical reference of Dundas.”

Last Monday, Market Lane between Dundas Place and the Covent Garden Market was reopened to pedestrians as the construction continued to move forward.

“It looks all open and fresh and new,” said Yanchula. “That condition will continue to march eastward down [Dundas] street from Richmond to Wellington.”

The lengthy phase II construction project is running ahead of where the first phase was at this time last year, added Yanchula.

“When we finish the project this year we will be done before the height of the downtown holiday shopping season. That will help return foot traffic to the area,” Yanchula said.