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Construction nearly finished on Atikokan culvert

Summer road project provides Atikokan with a much-needed facelift.
Construction on the Mercury Street Culvert project is almost complete. (Justin Hardy/TBT News)

ATIKOKAN – Construction is nearly complete to fix the Mercury Street culvert after years of planning, gathering adequate funding, and finding materials.

The renovation of the Mercury Street culvert was earlier than expected. Council is delighted to have the project checked off its to-do list.

“We're very excited about having that road open again. It's been quite a big project,” Mayor Rob Ferguson told Dougall Media in an interview.

In May 2023, Mercury Street Culvert collapsed due to a washout. This event forced the town to push the renovation timeline up a bit.

“It was just a little before we expected to start. It was going to be done last year and finished this year. But unfortunately, we had the collapse. Then it kind of changed the whole process,” said Ferguson.

Part of that process is ensuring the town arranges for a paving company to travel to the area.

Ferguson said paving the road will wait until the fall.

“We've got a lot of projects going on and it just makes economic sense. We don't have a paving company in town. So instead of two companies meeting each other back and forth on the highway, we’ll do everything in town at the same time,” explained Ferguson.

Waiting until the fall will provide enough time for the town to complete the O’Brien Street project.

“It's just about an $8 million project, which is huge for a town of 3,000 people. We're replacing water lines and repaving. It's about 4.5 kilometres of road. You could see that a lot of work is going on in the downtown area. Hopefully, it's a little quicker going on at the other end of it. But it is going to be an all-summer project,” Ferguson said.

He said refurbishing Atikokan’s roads and infrastructure provides the town with an upgrade. As small business owners retire, fresh entrepreneurs are taking their place. Because new people are taking over, they are modernizing the buildings. 

“Anybody that's been to Atikokan, the first comment they make is the condition of our roads. We are working on it. We did Mark Street last year. It was a part of the project and this is one of the bigger ones that we have going on right now. It's going to be great for tourism. It's going to be great for the people who have put up with these roads for a long time. And, it's going to be something that will bring more pride to the town,” said Ferguson.

Clint Fleury

About the Author: Clint Fleury

Clint Fleury is a web reporter covering Northwestern Ontario and the Superior North regions.
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