Lighting project prompts transit, traffic detours

Transit riders and campus commuters need to plan for detours and delays for the next few weeks as university efforts to brighten up campus continue into the New Year.

London Transit a buses that normally stop in front of the Natural Sciences Building will be detoured for five weeks, starting Jan. 13, while Western installs 44 new streetlights. Passengers will be redirected to bus stops at Alumni Hall Circle and along Perth Drive and Western Road.

The light replacements along a 300-metre section of Middlesex and Elgin drives are among the final steps in a comprehensive, campus-wide project to upgrade exterior lighting to industry standards that best protect pedestrians and improve visibility for drivers.

“This is the most difficult stretch to do, just because of the amount of traffic there,” said David Ostrom, Western’s electrical infrastructure specialist.

As large construction equipment will be used to move and install the six-metre-high fixtures, vehicle access to the area will be diverted instead to Western Road and to Perth and Lambton drives. There will also be times when the usual King’s shuttle stop locations will be unavailable in front of the Natural Sciences Building, Ostrom said.

Building entrances will remain open, and pedestrians and cyclists can expect safety fencing and additional directional signs beside construction zones.

Parking lots at the Social Sciences Building and Medical Science Building across Elgin Drive will remain open, except for some sporadic restrictions as needed, Ostrom said. A link to full project details  is here.

London Transit is encouraging students, staff and faculty to use its Infoweb real-time information at realtime.londontransit.ca to get accurate bus arrival times as detours can affect timing of routes. LTC planning director Katie Burns said updates will also be posted on londontransit.ca, as well as @LTCLdnOnt on Twitter.

The multi-million-dollar lighting overhaul across campus has so far included roadways, parking lots and paths – each upgraded to North American safety standards.

At about the same time as the upgrades take place along Middlesex and Elgin drives, lighting improvements to correct some dark spots in the parking lot and sidewalks near Thompson Recreation and Western Student Recreation Centre will also take place, Ostrom said.

Once the ground is frozen and heavy equipment can travel off-road without damaging grass or trees, additional and improved lights will be installed along the paved path on the west side of the Physics & Astronomy Building.

The final large stage of the project – which has cost more than $5 million in the past decade and has included replacing and adding thousands of light standards across campus – will be to upgrade lighting along Huron Drive, a job expected to take place this year.