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St. John's businesses glad to see end of Phase 1 of Water Street work

Phase 1 work on infrastructure upgrades for Water Street in downtown St. John’s is almost over, and local businesses say that’s good news.
Phase 1 work on infrastructure upgrades for Water Street in downtown St. John’s is almost over, and local businesses say that’s good news. - Rosie Mullaley

It’s been three long months of noise, dust and barricades for businesses along the section of Water Street in St. John’s that’s been torn up to allow for infrastructure upgrades.

But with the announcement from the city on Friday that the project will be completed this week, no one was happier than the employees.

“Finally!” Starbucks store manager Jill Evely said smiling, holding her hands out, when asked by The Telegram her thoughts on the project’s completion.

“I don’t want to say too much, but we’re just happy it’s over. We’re really excited.”

Phase 1 of the five-year, $15.5-million cost-shared project began April 2 and involved work being done between the Queen Street-Water Street intersection and the Water Street-Bishop’s Cove intersection.

In a news release issued by the city, the temporary water main will be removed from businesses and all curb, gutter and the first layer of asphalt will be put in place by today.

The final layer of asphalt and some small sections of sidewalk at both Bishop’s Cove and Queen Street intersections will be completed after the Canada Day long weekend.

“I can finally walk across the street to get to Subway,” Marie’s Mini Mart manager Kate Clarke said laughing.

“Overall, it wasn’t too bad, though. There were times our delivery drivers couldn’t get here, but that’s about it. I’m not complaining.”

Related story:

Phase 1 of St. John’s Water Street project almost done

While work was being completed, the section of road was closed to traffic for the most part, while plastic fences and other sidewalk barriers were put in place for pedestrians.

Employees approached Friday said they didn’t think their businesses were affected too much by the road blockage, since they mostly rely on foot traffic anyway.

“Business is actually up,” Boston Pizza franchisee and operating partner Rob DeMone said, noting the restaurant is getting more walk-in customers.

“I think the city did a fantastic job keeping us in the loop about what’s going on (with the project). It’s a big job and they did exceptionally well with it.”

According to the city, once completed, new features at the intersections include bump-outs resulting in increased safety for pedestrians, accessible pedestrian signals using tactile warning plates and audible signal poles for enhanced accessibility.

Leslie Shortall, manager of Soul Studio footwear store, said she understands the work had to be done to make improvements.

“We’re more than pleased it’s finished,” she said. “We hope people will take the opportunity to come down and see the new updates to the area.”

Next door at Flight Centre travel agency, assistant manager Todd Burton, said he also looking forward to the new-and-improved look of the street.

“Although, I’ve got to be honest,” he said with a chuckle, “It’ll be nice to have the windows clean again.”

rosie.mullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelyRosie

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