For Ottawa’s commuters, shoppers and bar-hoppers, the Elgin Street road closure has been a total nightmare for almost a whole year. However, Mayor Jim Watson has finally confirmed that Elgin Street's heavy construction is almost finished and it's wrapping-up just in time for Christmas! Much to the delight of locals, Ottawa’s Elgin Street will be officially re-opening to two-way traffic next month.
The vital downtown street was shut down back in January 2019, and it has essentially been one large construction site ever since.
The closure has been part of a multi-million-dollar streetscape rehabilitation project, that involves burying the street's power lines and introducing more bike and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Mayor Watson wrote, "I'm very excited to share that Elgin Street will re-open to traffic on December 16! This is a major milestone for Ottawa City."
He added, "Looking forward to fall 2020 for the completion of the project."
Several OC Transpo routes have been affected by the road's lengthy closure, with detours meaning that some daily commutes have been taking considerably longer than they should have.
The closure has also been a bother for those shopping, dining, or partying in the area, as the heavy construction has made navigating the street awkward and time-consuming.
Additionally, business owners that are located around Elgin have been upset about the construction project, complaining that they’ve seen a noticeable decline in business since the road was closed at the beginning of the year.
In response to the news that Elgin Street would be re-opening next month, one local Twitter user wrote, "The first good news of 2019!"
Another shared a similar message, simply responding, "Rejoice!"
A third added, "Great news! Its been a long, challenging year downtown on Somerset & Metcalfe streets."
While traffic will soon return to Elgin Street, this sadly isn’t the end of the project in the area. Lighter construction is expected to resume in early 2020, but traffic is unlikely to be seriously affected.
OC Transpo routes 5, 14 and 114 will resume running along Elgin as of December 16, and free parking at City Hall is expected to remain in place until the end of 2019.
The full project is expected to wrap up before the end of 2020, the City said.