It’s time to stop factoring snowbanks and ice into where you drive – but to start factoring in construction-induced road closures.

Across Waterloo Region, a number of roadwork projects began in earnest Monday.

Others will come online over the next few weeks, as the harsh winter pushes back the construction schedule.

“We’ve had a pretty bitter winter, so the frost has to get out of the ground before we can start to excavate,” Gary MacDonald, Waterloo Region’s head of transportation rehabilitation.

Traffic disruptions are expected on all the region’s major highways.

The first step to expand Highway 401 to 10 lanes between Kitchener and Cambridge will see lane closures over Fountain Street and Speedsville Road.

Work to rehabilitate Highway 85 in parts of Kitchener and Waterloo continues this summer, as does work on Highway 7/8 in Kitchener’s west end – both of which will see periodic lane closures.

Regional roads will also see their share of construction this summer.

“We’re going to have half a dozen roads under construction that will have lane restrictions and will affect peoples’ commutes,” says MacDonald.

Among the most significant projects:

  • Bridge Street will be reconstructed in east Kitchener
  • Ira Needles Boulevard will be widened to four lanes south of University Avenue
  • Reconstruction of University Avenue between Weber Street and Highway 85
  • Work continues to widen Weber Street to four lanes in Kitchener’s north end
  • Construction on Westmount Road near University Avenue

In total, the region plans to spend about $47 on road construction this year – more or less in line with past years.

Individual cities and townships will also undertake their own construction projects.

In Kitchener, some of the biggest city projects include work that will close Glasgow Street between Westmount and Knell Drive, rehabilitation of the Stirling Avenue bridge that will lead to lane closures, and work on Queen’s Boulevard near St. Mary’s General Hospital.