Premier Road will soon get some premier treatment with asphalt resurfacing and the installation of new sidewalks slated to begin in 2024. In the meantime, motorists and pedestrians will have to navigate its potholes and be vigilant while walking along its shoulders for one more year, making it a candidate to be voted North Bay's worst road for the second year running.
Thanks to the existing transit route along Premier Road, Adam Lacombe, a senior engineer with the City of North Bay, says the stretch of road without sidewalks was identified as an ideal candidate for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) Sidewalk Program. Asphalt resurfacing of that section with the new sidewalks, from Fowler Road to Champlain Park, will take place in 2024 with the remainder from Fowler to Lakeshore Drive to be resurfaced in 2025. Upon completion, the sidewalks will run from the entrance to the end of Premier on the lake side of the road.
Premier Road is highly populated and exposed to Lake Nipissing weather events and, depending on the season, heavy vehicle use by visitors to Champlain Park and the municipal dog park and boat launch located therein. It finished 12th among North and East roads in CAA's worst roads poll for 2022 and was North Bay's worst-ranked road.
See related: Premier Road voted North Bay's worst in CAA poll
Premier Road had been tentatively scheduled for some work — subject to the will of council and capital considerations — based on a quantitative and objective list of candidates for road rehabilitation developed through an established Road Matrix Program that is updated on a 4- or 5-year cycle by a third party.
In 2021, North Bay's Third Avenue West topped the list of CAA's worst roads in the combined North and East regions. That same stretch of Third Avenue West between Cassells and Front has since undergone major scheduled reconstruction.
Since 2003, CAA says its annual Worst Roads campaign has influenced change. Repaving and repair work has been done on many of the roads on Ontario's Worst Roads list, with more to come.
The $6.5-million ICIP program is funding a multi-year construction project aimed at improving access to existing transit stops by expanding the City’s network of sidewalks. Since the launch of the project in 2021, approximately 2.7 kilometres of new sidewalks have been added in various locations throughout North Bay with existing transit routes, including sections of Airport Road, Lakeside Drive, Lindsay Street, Johnston Road and Giroux Street.
The project is set to continue this spring along sections of Norman Avenue, Georgian Road and Prince Edward Drive. The work includes the construction of new concrete sidewalks, as well as new storm sewers/ditches, curb and gutter, restoration, and other ancillary works.
During construction, one lane of traffic will be provided for access to local properties and to provide safe travel through the construction zone. Short detours may be required to complete underground infrastructure at various locations, resulting in short traffic delays.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 2026 with future works to include sections of Commerce Crescent and Wallace Road.