Answers to your questions

Will the trees planted downtown be native species?

The majority of trees to be planted downtown will be native species. All of the chosen species were selected with long-term success in mind. The growing conditions on an urban street are different than conditions in a forest. For example, some species were chosen for their compact crown size to allow planting close to buildings. All of the trees need to be tolerant of growing conditions (exhaust, exposure, etc.) on Main Street in order to survive.

Below grade, major improvements have been made in road construction techniques to provide a root zone that will prevent soil compaction and help the trees thrive.

The species selected fall into the birch, maple, oak, gingko and honey locust categories.

Will Parking/Business and Pedestrian Access be open?

Parking remains available at the River Mill and High Street public parking lots as well as at the RBC parking lot and throughout side streets in downtown Huntsville. Residents are encouraged to plan their downtown trip in advance and discover parking available closest to their favourite shop, service or restaurant by using the interactive parking map on Pedestrian access remains open across the bridge and throughout downtown. Businesses remain open and access will remain available throughout all construction stages.

Will the downtown Bridge be open to pedestrians during construction?

Yes. We recognize the importance of continued pedestrian access to the entire downtown and we have incorporated this provision into the contract. Pedestrian access will be maintained in all Stages of construction, even though roads are closed to vehicle traffic – pedestrian access to all businesses will continue.

Will the streetlights along the detour route be adjusted to accommodate increased traffic?

Yes. We will work together to adjust signal timings where there are benefits to doing so.

How much notice will we receive for water disruptions?

A minimum of 48 hours prior to any shutdown of a water service, a notice will be provide to all affected customers advising of the required operation and the probable time when water will be restored. We will work to keep any scheduled disruptions to a minimum and time them appropriately when it is least impactful.

What will working hours be?

The Contractor’s current regular working hours are 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday. This may be adjusted as the project progresses to ensure timely completion.

How long will each Stage last?

You can keep track of the stages on the Construction Details and Detour page.

Before the contractor is permitted to move on to the next Stage of construction, the Stage undergoing construction must be completed to a state that the all work within the Stage is ready for use as it’s intended purpose. To keep the community updated, we will host a Community Information Session and other outreach efforts to promote the next Stage of closures, in advance.

Will boat passage be permitted in the summer?

Yes. Boat passage will be provided through either the east span (Boston Pizza side) or the center span at all times while work is taking place on the bridge.

How old is the underground infrastructure in the Town of Huntsville?

According to available records, most of the underground infrastructure is from the late 1950’s.

What kind of pipes are being installed?

Plastic pipes will be installed for all Water, Sanitary Sewer and Storm Sewer. This material is used based on its available lifespan compared to other materials such as steel.

Who do I contact to discuss utility upgrades for my business?

If you are considering utility upgrades for your business or property, we ask that you contact your specific utility provider for information on options.

When will I know when you will be working in front of my business?

Construction progress can be found on the and Diggin' Downtown (Huntsville site) weekly construction updates to keep you updated. In addition to the online updates and prior to construction activities starting in a specific Stage, notice will be provided to all affected businesses and residents of any traffic/access disruptions that will take place. At this point, affected businesses in Stage 1 have received additional notification. Condition assessment requests (through OZA inspections) have also gone out to all businesses in the Main St corridor.

How are you keeping our community safe among COVID-19 restrictions?

Safety for the community and all workers participating in this project is at the highest level of importance. The contractor has developed a detailed Covid-19 Health and Safety plan to ensure that the construction site maintains a safe working area while COVID-19 restrictions are active. This site specific plan is in place to protect the contractors employees and is in addition to any public health restrictions or requirements in place to manage the current pandemic.

Who (the specific person) at the Town of Huntsville is responsible for this project to ensure it is completed on time?

This is a collaborative effort across both municipalities and involves team members from both The Town of Huntsville and District of Muskoka who have been working closely together over the last several years to develop a contract to support the anticipated construction timeline. We are working together as a team on various aspects of the project (both above and below ground works) to align schedules to ensure we complete this transformation on time and on budget. We will post weekly updates and communicate Stage progress as construction continues.

Where will the pedestrian walkway(s) be located?

Pedestrians will have access to a designated temporary walkway through the construction zone at all times. These walkways will be hard surfaced and maintained on both sides of streets with crossing locations clearly identified to connect both sides of Main Street.

The location of these temporary walkways will likely be located to the outer edges of the construction zone but may require some adjustment to accommodate construction actives. The bridge will have a designated walkway on one side.

Businesses on Brunel need to safely and securely receive product deliveries. The deliveries need to be made to the door of the business and cannot be walked down various streets. Who/how will manage the parking on Brunel, between High St. and Main, so deliveries continue and business can operate?

We have assigned an onsite representative during construction as a resource, to assist and support our community. We fully understand access is required for deliveries, moving, etc. Please contact our onsite representative John Miller from Dufferin Construction at or 705-795-2042, and provide more information (address, business, anticipated delivery schedule, approximate size of truck, etc.).

How will "open for business" signage promote the businesses on Brunel between High Street and Main St.? Where will signage be located? Can businesses put out our own branded signs along the detour route(s)?

Wayfinding Signage will be placed throughout the community highlighting that the Downtown is open and Detour routes. In Parking areas around the Downtown Business Directory signage will be placed highlighting which businesses are impacted at that stage of construction and how to access the Downtown. The Town of Huntsville’s signage By-law prohibits putting businesses placing signage on property that is not owned by the Business. We would encourage you to work with the BIA who are exploring additional wayfinding signage that could be business specific and placed in different locations around Huntsville.

Where can business owners find the specific plans of the Town of Huntsville and Downtown BIA to promote all downtown businesses during the months of construction?

The Town will be focused on project awareness, promoting that the Downtown is open, how to access the Downtown and where to park. Details on the Town's Marketing Plan.

The BIA will be focused on street activation, events and marketing support for businesses. The BIA hosted an annual meeting (Fireside Chat) in January with their membership to discuss 2021 events and street activation. Details on the 2021 Street Activation Proposal and the 2021 Fireside Chat minutes. The BIA's marketing spend/guideline can be found in the 2021 Street Activation Proposal.

The pandemic has already had tremendous impact on the downtown businesses. Some already closing as a result. How did the Town and BIA assess the additional economic impacts of these closures?

The Town worked with the BIA who surveyed their membership to determine what their preference was to begin and complete the project. The membership responded with a preference to begin the project in 2021 under an accelerated timeline which would see the project completed in the spring of 2022. Survey results here.

How will tenants be able to get to and from home?

Access to businesses and dwellings will be maintained throughout construction. If you are impacted and have specific questions, please contact our onsite representative John Miller from Dufferin Construction at or 705-795-2042.

Does it not make sense to work on Stage two from March to June, (Brunel to West Rd) then the Businesses will be less impacted by the Bridge closure, If you dig Stage two from June to September, that eliminates the cottage crowd for 2021, and the businesses are already struggling.

We have been working with engineers on a staged approach to this project, based on the aboveground and underground work required. We also hosted Community Information Sessions and surveys which indicated our community would prefer a Stage by Stage approach, completing one stage before moving onto the next. Because this is the ‘low end’ of the job, we need to progress linearly to ensure our infrastructure is aligned properly, as we build it.

I see listed in improvements is a new sanitary and new storm system. Does this mean that these two systems will be combined on Main Street thus eliminating storm water mitigation from getting into the Muskoka River?

Separate sanitary and storm sewerage lines will be installed. Combined sewers can cause serious water pollution problems during combined sewer overflow events when combined sewage and surface runoff flows exceed the capacity of receiving sewage pump stations and/or the sewage treatment plant.

Currently, separate sanitary and storm sewers exist. In the case of the Main Street project, these separate sewer systems will each be independently replaced and will remain separate. Roof leaders, foundation drains etc. found connected to the sanitary sewer will be connected to the storm sewer to reduce loading on the sewage pump stations and sewage treatment plant.

Will there be a noticeable Police presence along the designated detour route? Traffic in this area is hazardous as it is.

The District has many partners involved to ensure both the construction zone and detour route remain safe. Speed limits and road safety laws will be enforced by the OPP. We will continue to monitor and modify traffic timings to accommodate busier times of the day, to reduce disruption as much as possible. It’s expected traffic volumes in the affected area will be considerably busier especially during morning and after school pick-up times, however, safety remains our top priority and we encourage our community to contact us immediately if there are specific concerns we can address.

There is a lot of traffic congestion in key areas of Town. How will this be managed through intersection timing?

The District and Town are currently reviewing traffic congestion due to detours routes. Keeping traffic moving is vitally important. Since Stage 1 closures began, the District has been monitoring the increased traffic caused by the detour and tracking this data. We are actively monitoring the Centre Street and West Road intersection and Centre Street and Main Street intersection in peak travel times and will be making signal adjustments and upgrades as needed.

We are upgrading the traffic signals at the Centre Street and West Road intersection. To make sure we can install the new signals safely, crossing guards, flaggers, and/or OPP officers may be seen onsite directing traffic as these upgrades are made. Keeping our community safe during construction is our number one priority - we understand increased traffic is expected, however, we are working to minimize disruptions as much as possible and adjust traffic signal timing to support this.

Will there be blasting? 

  • Dufferin Construction and their contractor OZA Inspections Inc., hand delivered pre-condition letters outlining options for property owners to take advantage of a pre-condition survey for their property
  • Blasting may be required to take place as construction progresses. If blasting is required, a completed pre-condition survey for the property is favourable
  • There is no charge for this pre-condition survey service. Should you have questions or concerns – please contact District of Muskoka at

Will water/sewer services remain active during construction?

Read about service connections

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have a question about this project, please continue to monitor:

Residents and businesses within the construction area can ask questions or share concerns:


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