The five-phase “Diggin’ Downtown” project in Huntsville is set to get started in March.

Director of Operations and Protective Services for the Town of Huntsville Steve Hernen says during each stage, the sidewalks and boulevards on the stretch of road being worked on will be improved and underground infrastructure will be replaced. It will go from the Swing Bridge on Main Street to Lorne Street. “During that time all underground infrastructure will be replaced,” he says. The sidewalks, roads, trees and street lights will also be upgraded as they go through downtown as well.

Throughout the process, Hernen says downtown businesses will not be affected. “There will always be access to businesses,” he says. “No business will be out any customers.”

Hernen explains the first phase will see the Muskoka River Swing Bridge upgraded with new underground water and sewer infrastructure replaced on Main Street from the bridge to Brunel Road. “The Swing Bridge itself will be overhauled,” he says.

As part of the first phase, Brunel Road to West Street will be used as a “lay down area” for the contractor’s equipment and will be closed. 

The work will start in March and wrap up in June.

Hernen says the project was thought up in 2018. “The (District of Muskoka) identified through their long-range planning the need to replace the infrastructure on our Main Street,” he explains. After council and town staff had looked into the issue and consulted with residents and businesses, it was decided a “facelift” was necessary.

The second stage will run from June to July and involve replacing underground infrastructure from Brunel to Centre Street, King Street will be rehabilitated, and the ramp at Town Hall will be repaired. The third and fourth stages will be done between August and November along West Street and Lorne Street. Hernen says that will be the last work the contractor does this year. He explains work will start on the last phase in the Spring of 2022, ending in May. “He will come back for approximately four days and will do a final lift of asphalt,” he explains. 

“So then we’ll have a brand new road all ready for the summer of 2022,” Hernen says. “It will have the new trees, the new street lights, there’s a new crosswalk being put in and new accessible walkways beside the Town Hall and on King Street.”