Construction has started on a complete rebuild of Main Street in Ile des Chenes.

Shane Pelletier is Ward 1 Councillor for the Rural Municipality of Ritchot. He says the barricades went up Monday morning and the heavy equipment moved in, kickstarting a project that could take up to three months to complete.

Pelletier says they are rebuilding Main Street from Dumaine Road to Lacroix Avenue. In addition to the road improvements, the project includes replacing the sidewalks, adding bike paths, constructing an extra boulevard, and building bump-outs at the crosswalks. 

According to Pelletier, the total cost of the project will be nearly $2.8 million. Our province is providing a grant worth $1 million. He notes Terracon Development has contributed $500,000 and the rest will come from Ritchot's general reserves. 

Pelletier says the plan is that one lane of Main Street will be left open for traffic during construction. He notes there will be moments throughout the project where equipment might be in the way, and he asks for patience from residents and motorists. 

"I know they've all been waiting for this for a very long time," notes Pelletier. "So, I'm hopeful that everybody will be understanding on some limitations."

He adds the plan is also for each lot to be accessible during the evening hours, noting there will be times during the day when access will be blocked off. 

"But evenings the plan is to have everybody be able to get home," says Pelletier. 

Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen says he cannot thank the province enough for the funding to allow this project to happen. The province still owns Main Street in Ile des Chenes. Ewen says for the last seven years he, Pelletier, and the rest of Council have been lobbying the province for this improvement.

"To see this come to fruition is going to be life-changing for lots of the businesses down here," adds Ewen. "We're going to see cleaner roads, safer roads, we're going to see easier access points for people that come and enjoy the businesses that we have in Ile des Chenes."

Ewen says Ile des Chenes will see a lot of growth because of this project.

"I can't thank administration enough as well," says Ewen. "We always talk about the politics behind things getting it down but our administration and the provincial administration that have been working on this to get this done over the last few years have been gruelling and taxing on getting this done and we can't thank them enough for that."

Ewen says since becoming Mayor he has heard repeatedly, not only from residents of Ile des Chenes but from the surrounding area just how poor the condition of that street is. He says the poor access points onto that street and the cracks in the sidewalks have also made this a safety hazard for cyclists and pedestrians.

"So, to see the safety implemented here and keeping my political promise when I was lobbying, and seeing it come to completion is a huge win for everyone, not just me," adds Ewen.

Pelletier says the project is expected to take 55 working days.