Traffic will soon be moving a lot slower across the Hillsborough Bridge.
The provincial Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that the project to install a new wastewater pipe will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
The pipe will link Stratford’s wastewater treatment lagoon with Charlottetown’s waste treatment facility on Riverside Drive. It’s part of a $17-million project.
This work means officials will have to close one lane of the bridge for about six to eight weeks.
Stephen Yeo, chief engineer for the department, said they’ll be closing down one of the south lanes (the lane closest to the cruise ship port).
There will still be three lanes of traffic open at all times. However, to minimize the impact on traffic, there will be two lanes of traffic open to motorists travelling from Stratford to Charlottetown each morning, with one lane for traffic moving from Charlottetown to Stratford. Then at 2 p.m., said Yeo, construction crews will reverse the flow creating two lanes of traffic travelling from Charlottetown to Stratford, with one lane for traffic coming into the capital city.
Drivers will be diverted into the correct lanes before reaching the bridge.
While work is ongoing, the speed limit on the bridge and the two approaches will drop from 70 km/h to 50 km/h.
Yeo said the pipe will be buried in the shoulder of the highway on the south side of the causeway and underneath the bridge. Workers will bore the pipe from the south side of the highway to the plant on Riverside Drive. Yeo said this work won’t have any impact on traffic.
“We’re going to try and minimize (the impact on traffic) as much as we can,’’ Yeo said Tuesday. “We’re going to have two rows of pylons out there and when those lanes are separated with pylons you do not change lanes inside the construction zone.
“If your inside lane is pyloned off, you stay in it. There will be lots of time to come out and get moved over before the intersections in both directions. We’ll have two message boards up at each end of the construction.’’
This phase of the construction should wrap up by December.
Yeo said the contractor wants to get as much pipe in the ground this fall as possible. Work under the bridge will continue throughout the winter with minimal impacts on traffic, while the hookup with the Charlottetown plant should be complete by July.
The province’s share of the project is just over $6 million and includes work on the abutments of the bridge and shoreline protection.