It will be the last section of the roads leading to downtown North Bay to be upgraded.

North Bay City Council has approved a nearly $10.9 million contract to Kenalex Construction Company Limited for the Cassells Street reconstruction project.

Since 1990, arterial roads Algonquin Avenue, Oak Street, McIntyre Street, Fisher Street and parts of Cassells Street have all have been upgraded except for Cassells Street from King Street West to the Highway 11/17 intersection.

Chair of Council’s Infrastructure and Operations Committee Chris Mayne said preparations are underway for the two-year reconstruction. “Earlier this spring, North Bay Hydro went in and cut back some trees, started to push back some of the high-tension wires, basically to make room for the construction.”

According to the staff report, “The City of North Bay had determined that the existing traffic volumes have reached or exceeded the available road capacity of Cassells Street and any future traffic growth will exacerbate the existing conditions. The City recognizes the need to provide improvements to resolve problems resulting from road structure inadequacies, corridor capacity deficiencies and unsafe conditions.”

The scope of the work includes four travel lanes between King and Olive streets, five travel lanes between Olive Street and Highway 11/17, various turn lanes and access upgrades, along with sidewalks, curbs and gutters on both sides. The project will see traffic signals at Chippewa and Olive streets replaced, reconstruction of Shaw Street and improvements to the Victoria Street intersection. Sanitary and storm sewer systems will also be replaced, along with the water distribution system.

“This project will renew aging infrastructure, alleviate traffic congestion and make way for greater traffic volumes in the future,” said Mayne. “Once this reconstruction is completed, the entire roadway into the city will accommodate up to four lanes of traffic from Algonquin Avenue through Cassells and Trout Lake Road to Lakeside Drive.”

In addition, the Cassells Street bridge will be replaced, including rehabilitation of Chippewa Creek on both sides of the new structure. All disturbed areas will be restored to previous or better condition.

There will be some changes to entry and exit points at the shopping complex west of the bypass where Food Basics is located with safety in mind.

“Exiting the shopping area, left-hand turns will no longer be permitted — not at that intersection anyway,” said Mayne, “you’re going to have to go back towards Olive Street to come out and do a left. Right-hand turns, basically anything that’s not crossing traffic will be facilitated in the new design.”

Staff reports Cassells Street Phase I and II has a combined budget of $11.9 million. “Total project costs include the cost of construction, design fees, engineering consultant fees, etc. A total of$1,925,000 in additional funding is projected to be required for completion of the road and storm component of the project. Since construction is expected to be completed over a two year period, it is recommended that the additional funding come from the 2020 Capital Budget. Therefore, approval of the contract will represent the first commitment against the 2020 General Capital Budget. Capital Projects will be reprioritized in 2020 in order to redirect funds to Project 3619 Cassells Street Phase I and II.”

Motorists will experience delays and detours at various times over the approximately two-year construction period, but, with all City projects, the awarded General Contractor will be required to maintain access to properties for homeowners and businesses, provide wayfinding signs for assistance to locate access to businesses, assists with garbage collection and limit noise and other inconveniences during construction.

The City of North Bay says the project will be managed by staff and a City Inspector will be on site continuously to liaise with the public and respond to any questions or concerns that may arise.