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Smoothing out Highway 103: Port Joli bypass opens to traffic

Joe Garber, a surveyor who worked on the Port Joli Bypass stands on the new section of Highway 103. The bypass opened on Sept. 30 to traffic.
Joe Garber, a surveyor who worked on the Port Joli Bypass stands on the new section of Highway 103. The bypass opened on Sept. 30 to traffic.

PORT JOLI - The new highway bypass is open and in use, but a few finishing touches are still being put on the new Queens County stretch of the 103.

According to Gary Rafuse, a senior project engineer with Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, traffic was diverted onto the new stretch of highway beginning Sept. 30.

The project began in 2012 and this work is the first of two phases. Phase 1A has Highway 103 bypassing Port Joli.

The work is intended to improve safety and flow of traffic through the area. Several steep turns have been eliminated.

Joe Garber, a surveyor on the project, says crews have received a positive feedback since the new section was opened
“When we opened it, everybody’s happy and a lot of people stopped and said ‘good job,’” he says.

“Things went really good with it. I think it turned out very nicely,” adds Garber. “Up here, I don’t think they hit any rock. In Port Mouton they hit rock but up here, no rock.”

Traffic control is still in the area and some construction is still ongoing. Over the past two weeks, road crews have been painting, putting up lights and erecting signage in the area. Rafuse says  temporary ramps and old portions of roadway are being removed.

Danielle Hickey, a spokeswoman for Kejimkujik Park, says new signage is on its way to direct visitors to Keji Seaside in Port Joli. Garber says signage for Thomas H. Raddall Park is also going to be erected and, as of Oct. 7, some was on its way.

According to Gary Rafuse, a senior project engineer with Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, traffic was diverted onto the new stretch of highway beginning Sept. 30.

The project began in 2012 and this work is the first of two phases. Phase 1A has Highway 103 bypassing Port Joli.

The work is intended to improve safety and flow of traffic through the area. Several steep turns have been eliminated.

Joe Garber, a surveyor on the project, says crews have received a positive feedback since the new section was opened
“When we opened it, everybody’s happy and a lot of people stopped and said ‘good job,’” he says.

“Things went really good with it. I think it turned out very nicely,” adds Garber. “Up here, I don’t think they hit any rock. In Port Mouton they hit rock but up here, no rock.”

Traffic control is still in the area and some construction is still ongoing. Over the past two weeks, road crews have been painting, putting up lights and erecting signage in the area. Rafuse says  temporary ramps and old portions of roadway are being removed.

Danielle Hickey, a spokeswoman for Kejimkujik Park, says new signage is on its way to direct visitors to Keji Seaside in Port Joli. Garber says signage for Thomas H. Raddall Park is also going to be erected and, as of Oct. 7, some was on its way.

A map shows where the former portion of Highway 103 ran through Port Joli and where it is cuts off in relation to the new section of Highway 103 that bypasses Port Joli and Port l'Hebert.

Parts of the old section of the 103 will continue to be used,  but is been dead-ended in two areas and disconnected from the new section.

Road gates will allow access in emergencies. A key is going to be provided to emergency services personnel.  

“During public meetings the public was concerned about access,” says Garber. “It’ll be gated so not just Joe blow can come back here.”

A cul-de-sac is being provided near the gated areas for drivers to turn around.

An emergency access route to the highway. This piece of roadway will be gated and require a key to access.

Phase 1B, which will have traffic bypass Central Port Mouton, is underway. Blasting, leveling, and even some aesthetic work such as grass planting has been done. A bridge over Broad River has been constructed.  No date was provided on when Phase 1B will be finished but according to the department’s website, it may open in fall of 2016.

 

Quick facts

Traffic volumes for the area average as high as 2,300 - 3,200 vehicles per day.

Land for the new highway has been purchased to accommodate the current and future phases (including future twinning).

The estimated cost of construction of this project is currently $47-million.

The project was approved for federal funding and a cost-sharing agreement with the federal government was signed in March 2012with a commitment n of up to $16.5-million.

Source:  Transportation Infrastructure Renewal

Part of the newly opened bypass.

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