Ottawa Street Double Roundabouts
Ottawa Street serves as an important transportation corridor, connecting commuters from Homer Watson Boulevard and Highway 7/8 to several neighbourhoods in Kitchener. As a result, this particular stretch of roadway was experiencing heavy traffic volumes, long wait times and a high accident rate. Anticipating growth in the community, the Region of Waterloo set out to complete a major road reconstruction that would increase capacity for traffic while simultaneously slowing drivers’ speed to improve safety.
The solution involved the design and construction of two roundabouts at the Ottawa Street intersections of Homer-Watson Boulevard and Alpine Road. This project would be the first of its kind in Ontario, as the two roundabouts were designed and constructed in close proximity to one another, a challenge MTE was proud to take on.
MTE worked with the Region to manage and provide engineering services for the preliminary and detailed design of the roadway improvements. This included the design of two three-lane roundabouts and a new highway ramp, as well as the replacement of pavement, sanitary sewer, watermain, storm sewer and gasmain systems.
To improve accessibility, our design incorporated 3-m wide multi-use paths all around and in between both roundabouts for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as a multi-use trail and enhanced Grand River Transit stops and bus shelters. For additional safety, large splitter islands and well-marked pedestrian crossings were designed to highlight the people walking across the roadway, and we incorporated LED street lighting for added financial and environmental sustainability.
Managing this project involved collaboration with multiple stakeholders who would be affected by the reconfiguration of the intersections. This included local utilities, communication companies and surrounding businesses, as well as the Ministry of Transportation who were needed to facilitate the revision of the Highway 7/8 ramps. Our team was able to cultivate relationships with these stakeholders and mitigate any challenges through public consultation centres, negotiations with individual property owns and effective communication.
Another significant complexity surrounded the Region’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, which was being designed and constructed concurrently. Our team needed to integrate our design with the LRT project and coordinate with their design team to ensure that our project would not create re-work during the LRT construction or impede its progress.
Finally, one of the greatest challenges of this project involved maintaining the traffic volumes, which represented 60,000 vehicles per day, throughout construction. In order to strike the balance between traffic and construction, our work was carefully choreographed, with limited lane closures, temporary road sections and using portions of the constructed circular roadway as temporary detour routes.
Despite these challenges, our team ensured the deliverables of the Region’s project were not compromised and the momentum of the project was maintained.
Upon completion, we were awarded an Award of Excellence from the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Ontario (ACEC-Ontario) for our work on this project.