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Downtown construction finished for the season

Portions of Fourth Avenue South and Seventh Street South had been closed since August. Portions of Fourth Avenue South and Seventh Street South had been closed since August.
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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -

After months of road work, the streets of downtown Lethbridge are open once again.

Portions of Fourth Avenue South and Seventh Street South had been closed since August.

“I want to thank all the businesses and downtown visitors for their patience. We know it hasn't been easy. But all the road closures are done. Come on down and do your Christmas shopping,” said City of Lethbridge senior transportation project administrator Bryce Dudley.

The project was budgeted for approximately $4 million, although the city believes it’s likely the project will now come in under budget.

The work included replacement of a 100 year old water and pavement rehabilitation.

Bike lanes have also been added in hopes of attracting more people downtown.

“Being able to have the cycling lanes installed and connect into our existing cycling infrastructure and existing pathway networks is a huge bonus for the businesses," City of Lethbridge urban revitalization manager Crystal Scheit said. "And I think it'll only encourage more tourism and bring people into the downtown.”

MISSED ORIGINAL COMPLETION DATE

The construction wasn’t without its problems, missing its originally scheduled completion date of October 31.

Unforeseen issues, particularly with the water main replacement, caused the delay.

“Lots of unknowns, right?" said Dudley. "Some of these pipes are over 100 years old so we don't have perfect records on things. Sometimes pipes aren't where you think they're supposed to be, (or) they're not (made of) the same material you thought they might be.”

While drivers are happy to have the road back, small businesses in the area are ecstatic.

Construction led to a noticeable decline in foot traffic for several nearby businesses took up much of the nearby parking.

“Certainly there was impact, negative impact on some of our businesses bottom lines,” said Sarah Amies, executive director of the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ.

She continued “With continued advertising and signage and free parking while the construction was on we did everything we possibly could to ensure that people could come down and shop.”  

The roads are open again but there's still work left to be done.

Construction crews will be back in 2024 to finish marking the cycling lanes as well as to do more asphalt and concrete work.

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