Wellington Street detour to remain in place while by-pass remains closed
Tim Brody - Editor
The Wellington Street detour will remain in place longer than initially expected according to the Municipality of Sioux Lookout.
The detour was set up after a portion of Wellington Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenue was closed on the morning of May 25.
The detour was necessary to facilitate the repair of a sanitary sewermain. The Municipality informed, “We have successfully repaired the sanitary sewermain and backfilled the excavated area, however, given the that the roadbed has deteriorated due to the excess amount of water in the ground from the flood, we cannot risk reopening Wellington Street until such time as the Province reopens the Ed Ariano By-pass, which will significantly reduce the number of large/heavy vehicles coming through the Wellington Street corridor.”
The Municipality further shared, “The Municipality has reached out to the Province, requesting that MTO have aggregate added to the By-pass so that it can be reopened.”
According to the Municipality, “MTO has initially denied our request to have the By-pass reopened, but we are continuing to work with the Province to achieve a positive response.”
Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance shared, “We are maintaining our roads open as much as possible, it would be helpful if MTO could do the same. With the by-pass closed, it forces all the traffic, including heavy commercial traffic, into town.”
He explained, “The situation at Wellington, if you look at where it is, you will see the lake to the south has come across Ethel Street and come across around the lane and is at the old Lion’s Park. That lake water level is also under the road, so some of the sewer and water piping is really almost floating on saturated soil, then when heavy traffic goes over it, that’s being diverted, it just couldn’t withstand it… we can’t sustain and put at risk more breakage… so we’ve decided to continue the detour until such time as we hope that MTO can act and open the by-pass.”
The Bulletin reached out to MTO about the reason for the by-pass closure, what steps MTO may be taking to reopen the by-pass, and when the by-pass may reopen.
The following was their response, “On May 24, 2022, at 17:52, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) closed Highway 72 at the junction of Highway 516 due to water over the road, as well as a significant hole in the road of unknown depth and complexity.
“On May 26, 2022, MTO conducted inspections and an engineering review, though work cannot be completed until the water recedes. Unfortunately, we don’t know the full extent of the damage and cannot repair and reopen the highway until the water is gone. We continue inspecting the area daily to ensure that we can initiate repairs as soon as possible.”