Joint Media Release: Diggin’ Downtown Construction Progress Update

Posted On Monday July 26, 2021

(Huntsville, ON) The Town of Huntsville and District of Muskoka would like to advise the community the Diggin’ Downtown construction project will remain in Stage 2 construction until further notice.

While the project team is pleased with how the job progressed in Stage 1 the second stage of construction has presented some complicated service connections and seen a significant volume of rain and water in the ‘hole’ of the construction area.

The project team anticipates the Diggin’ Downtown project is approximately 4 to 6 weeks behind schedule.
Understanding and recognizing the impacts that these delays bring, the Town of Huntsville and District of Muskoka are working closely with Dufferin Construction crews to expedite progress and develop an updated construction schedule.

What Has Caused the Delays?

Crews have spent additional one-on-one time with individual properties that have required careful consideration to their water/sanitary connections, with some needing material and items that were not readily available due to impacts from the pandemic, stalling progress.

The aging infrastructure along with thoughtful connections into buildings is playing a role in the progression of the project, but when connected and installed properly these connections will last and service the community for decades to come.

The significant amount of rain received over the last month (340mm since June, which is more than typically recorded for all of June and July) has been a challenge, as the system is working to move water out of the area. The downtown sewer and sanitary lines actively work to remove rushing water and since the system is live, replacing connections need to be paused during these rain events so the system can do its job.  


What We’re Doing to Expedite Progress

There are many considerations being examined, including longer work weeks, additional night shifts and possibly combining future stages to accelerate progress. In August, thorough inspections of properties located in the Stage 3 area will be conducted to plan and help prevent any similar occurrences from happening in that stage. The District and Town will contact any properties affected in the Stage 3 area in the next few weeks to gain a head start on understanding any potential challenges before they arise.

Revised Timeline Coming Soon

Stage 2 construction, detours and road closures are in effect until further notice. There will be an updated schedule and Community Information Session in mid-August to share more information on timelines.

Project Reminders

  • With summer now in full swing Downtown Huntsville is very busy with pedestrians and vehicle traffic. Motorists are reminded to take caution near intersections and on detour routes and to yield to pedestrians
  • The majority of the Swing Bridge rehabilitation will be complete by August 1: scaffolding will be removed, and the bridge painting will be complete, however, some additional work to the underside of the bridge will be taking place in the coming weeks. Please follow posted signage and yield to oncoming boats under the bridge until rehabilitation is completed
  • Water levels are currently high due to large amounts of rain, please be cautious and ensure the height of your boat canopies fit under the swing bridge
  • Traffic studies continue on various intersections, throughout the project, with traffic light timing adjusted based on peak times and monitored throughout each
  • Centre and Main Street now has a left-hand turn from Centre Street North onto Main Street West – this will help move traffic along, especially during peak commuting times and on weekends
  • Downtown Huntsville remains accessible for pedestrians and all businesses in the construction zone are open following COVID-19 protocols.

To stay in the know regarding construction news, timelines, detour information, maps and resources for the duration of the project visit Huntsville.ca/diggindowntown.

Residents, businesses and visitors are encouraged to ask questions on EngageMuskoka.ca/Huntsville-downtown-streetscaping.

Background:

Diggin’ Downtown construction began in March 2021 to address aging underground water and sewage infrastructure. Replacing the infrastructure also created an opportunity to improve the pedestrian experience with new sidewalks and streetscape elements to provide a more attractive and accessible downtown, including a smooth new driving surface.

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For More Information Contact:

 

GENERAL MEDIA INQUIRIES:

Denise Corry,

Chief Administrative Officer
(705) 789-1751 x2356

cao@huntsville.ca

 

CONSTRUCTION TECHNICAL:

Stephen Hernen 

Director of Protective Services

Town of Huntsville

(705) 789-1751 ext 3823

Steve.hernen@huntsville.ca

 

Mark Misko

Director, Engineering & Transportation

District of Muskoka

(705) 645-6764 x 4225

mark.misko@muskoka.on.ca