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Davis Drive rapidway construction continues through April

Metrolinx and York Region contractors continue to work on the project to build a rapidway — bus-only rapid transit lanes in the centre of the roadway — along Davis Drive East in Newmarket.

This month, crews will continue removing trees and testing the soil to get ready to build retaining walls and relocate utilities and widen the roadway.

Removing trees

To prepare for spring construction, workers are removing 223 trees of varying health and sizes, while preserving 95 trees. In March, they transplanted ten trees from Davis Drive to the playground at Maple Leaf Public School. At the end of the project, the streetscape will feature about 350 new trees — nearly 27 percent more trees than workers are removing. It will also include extensive landscaping, including shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennial flowers.

An avian biologist will inspect the trees for bird nests before the removal crew arrives at each site. They’ll only remove trees that the biologist approves. The biologist will re-assess the trees with active nests in mid-May. Once the nests are no longer active, the workers will remove the trees.

Workers started removing the trees Wednesday, March 14. They’ll continue removing trees from both the north and south sides of Davis between Yonge Street and Huron Heights Drive / Alexander Road Mondays to Fridays from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., until Friday, April 27.

Crews will remove trees in sections and chip the wood off-site, cleaning up each site before moving to the next location. The Town of Newmarket and the Region will close the east- and westbound curb lanes from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. each day to allow the contractors to work on the trees.

Sidewalks remain open and a flag person will be on site to direct pedestrians around the work areas.

Testing the soil

While these workers are removing trees, another crew will be testing the soil along the north side of the street, to prepare for upcoming work to relocate the utilities.

The workers begin at Yonge Street and continue along the side of the roadway to beyond Huron Heights Drive. They’ll be taking samples from various sites on the boulevard on land that York Region has bought for this project. Every 30 meters, crews will use a drill rig to bore holes measuring 10 to 12 centimetres (four to five inches) in diameter and 1.2 metres (four feet) deep. They’ll fill in each hole before they move to the next location.

All lanes of the roadway, and all bus stops and sidewalks will remain open. If the work requires the Town and Region to temporarily close the road or detour traffic, a flag person will be on the site to help guide motorists and pedestrians. Work crews will also install directional signs or construction markers.

Passengers riding GO Transit buses operating along the 69 Sutton / Newmarket route and York Region Transit buses operating along the 44 Bristol / London, 54 Bayview, 55 / 55B Davis Drive and 520 / 521 Newmarket community bus routes should expect some delays while the work proceeds.

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