It's barely one year into the construction of Sudbury's Maley Drive extension and phase one is on time and on budget.
City representatives gave members of the media a tour of phases one and two of the massive construction project in the north end of the city on Nov. 21, which extends from the intersection of Frood Road and Lasalle Boulevard to the intersection of Barry Downe Road and Maley Drive.
Phase one is currently underway, with a four-lane divided highway spanning from the corner of Lasalle Boulevard West across to Falconbridge Road. It includes extending Maley Drive, a roundabout in front of College Boreal, an interchange on Notre Dame, and another roundabout on Barry Downe. Reconstruction of the existing Maley Drive will also be part of the work, starting in the spring.
The cost of this phase is estimated to be around $80 million.
It is slated for completion in December, 2019.
David Shelsted, Greater Sudbury's director of infrastructure capital planning services, growth and infrastructure, said it's a marvel to look at in person.
"I've been looking at maps and plans on paper since this began, but you don't get a full sense of the scale of it until you are driving along it. It's mind-boggling," he said. "This is what $80 million in construction looks like."
Phase two will include another extension from Elm Street West to the Maley Drive extension, as well as four-laning Maley Drive between Barry Downe and Falconbridge roads, as well as four-laning from College Boreal to Elm Street West.
The cost of phase two is estimated to be $70 million.
Much of the construction is invisible to traffic going by, as it is set far back from current roads. At first glance, it looks like the extension is a completely new road design that cuts through wilderness. The truth is, it has been on the books of the city for almost 20 years. Other construction projects, like the offset on Timberwolf Golf Club and noise dampening berms in the Richelieu Court subdivision, were built with the extension and four-laning in mind.
The savings in time and travel are already starting to show. Barry Tonello, site superintendent, said even driving just 20 kilometres an hour he can be at the Notre Dame overpass in around five minutes.
"Compare that to the 15 to 20 minutes people say it takes them right now to drive in traffic along Lasalle from Notre Dame to Falconbridge Road, on a good day," he said.
Drivers on Maley will notice on the north side a very tall mound of...