King Street construction lull to continue into May
It’s been more than a month since active construction work took place on King Street in uptown Waterloo.
Work was halted on March 11, following the discovery of what turned out to be a corduroy road – one of the earliest passageways constructed in the city – under the street.
Archeologists were then called in to examine the find, as is required under heritage regulations.
The on-site archeological work has now wrapped up, and crews expect to move in later this week to begin removing the logs that make up the corduroy road.
How long that will take remains unclear.
“We’re still believing that we’re going to be able to restart construction in May,” Avril Fisken, a spokesperson for construction consortium GrandLinq, said Wednesday.
“I just don’t know exactly when.”
The issue of the corduroy road was also raised Wednesday at Mayor Dave Jaworsky’s State of the City address.
The mayor suggested that people listening to his address “shop and dine in uptown Waterloo” and check out the corduroy road for themselves – adding with a laugh that they would have to do that last part “very, very soon.”
He also reminded his audience that parking is still available in other parts of the uptown, particularly on Regina Street.
“The only thing that’s torn up is King Street, and that’s where the vast majority of us never parked anyways,” he said.
Uptown business owners say they’re feeling mixed emotions about the discovery of the corduroy road and the construction work in general.
“The corduroy road has started almost like a tourist industry, we’re joking, in uptown Waterloo,” said Mandy Brouse, co-owner of Words Worth Books.
On the other hand, Brouse says, her business and others are only at the “very beginning” of a lengthy construction season, which is expected to last until at least the end of November.
Officials say they’re pursuing options including working longer hours during the day to keep the project on-schedule.
Brouse says she’s happy to hear that, although she knows the tenants living above her store might have a different opinion.
What particularly worries her is any suggestion that King will remain closed into December, cutting into the busy Christmas retail season.
That, she said, would be “too much to ask.”
Fisken says it’s not yet known whether the Nov. 30 target is still feasible, and business owners shouldn’t expect more concrete about the schedule until June.