So my blog had quite a bit of traffic because I included the ‘Orleans Sinkhole’ in my Three Things Thursday. So here is a bit more detail for those who are interested!
Orleans is part of Ottawa and is the eastern suburb of the city. It used to be part of the city of Gloucester before amalgamation in 2001. We are separated from Ottawa by a NCC Greenbelt area and the Orleans Farm land. We are a smallish suburb, but we essentially have everything we need but an Apple Store and a Bridgeheads (or at least that is what I wish we had).
The sinkhole happened just before the Jeanne d’Arc exit on the eastbound lanes of Highway 174. Highway 174 is a 4-lane highway that connects to the 417. It is our only freeway/highway to downtown. Currently, the eastbound lanes of the 174 between Montreal Road and Jeanne d’Arc are closed. Why this is such a big problem is because Orleans does not have many ways into the city. In fact there are really only two other main ways: Innes Road and St. Joseph/Montreal Road (St. Joseph turns into Montreal Rd). The Greenbelt acts as a divider. Because the closure is at Montreal Rd, everyone is forced to get off and go on the ONE road into Orleans. The first evening, the highway was closed at Blair, which meant that everyone was being funneled up Blair onto Innes, which caused even more headaches. Some people are still choosing that route (or getting off Innes at the 417). Regardless, any route home between 3pm and 7pm are insane. Last night, the 174 looked like a parking lot!
P works in Kanata, and has to drive through this mess to get home. He took the 417 to Walkley Road and then down some back rounds to get home. People of Orleans: This is a good way to get home! There are lots of police present to help drivers find their way home as well as control traffic to get people through faster. The difference in time versus P’s normal route was only about 10 minutes or so. Talking to another parent at daycare today, it took him over an hour and a half to get home. Take the side roads!
The sinkhole is not going to be fixed by tomorrow. It may take until next week to get fixed. Currently the sinkhole has been ripped up and now the hole spreads across the whole highway. All I can say is thankfully no one was killed!
Here are some options if you are stuck commuting through this mess:
– Grab some good music, a cup of coffee and just sit and relax.
– Take the OCTranspo – this has been the best option
– Take the back roads – Getting off at Walkley will provide you with a good alternate (see below for map)
– Tele-commute if possible