Months to rebuild Emma-Cumberland intersection

Orange fencing surrounds a sinkhole on the northeast corner of Emma Avenue and Cumberland Street in Cornwall, Ont. Monday April 11, 2017. A culvert partially failed underneath the intersection and will take a few months to replace, according to the city's head of infrastructure. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The head of Cornwall’s infrastructure suggests it will be summertime before the Emma-Cumberland intersection will be fully repaired.

The four-way stop was abruptly shut down Thursday (April 6) after a partial collapse of part of the road and the green space next to the sidewalk. The failure also created a couple of sinkholes.

A corrugated steel culvert, about 2 meters (6.5 feet) in diameter and about 30 meters (98 feet) long that runs diagonally across the intersection, gave way in the deluge of rain the city received.

The culvert carries a massive amount of water from a flood plain, known as the Boal’s Drain.

“It failed much more quickly than we had anticipated,” John St. Marseille said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch Monday. “We have been monitoring this as we do other culverts and structures throughout the city, but that was a significant rain event.”

The Emma-Cumberland intersection will be closed for the “foreseeable future” while engineers assess the damage.

“We are going to have to replace that so we’re looking at the longer term plan for that. As we indicated…that could be up to three months so you’re looking at a summer time frame to have that done,” St. Marseille said.

Complicating the replacement plan – the city has to consult and work with the gas company because a large gas main runs underneath the intersection as well.

St. Marseille said they are looking at the possibility of having limited access to the intersection soon.

“We’re looking at measures to make the culvert safe and the crossing safe on an interim basis. We’ll have more updates shortly once we have those engineering investigations undertaken,” he said.

He said, in a worst case scenario, they would have a single lane of traffic open. Another option is reinforcing the culvert and putting down steel plates on the road surface.

“We’ve recognized and we’ve heard that it’s a really busy spot and we want to get traffic trough there as quickly as we can because it’s an inconvenience.”

St. Marseille added that they “appreciate the cooperation” of nearby residents – including those on Cline Avenue – who have had no-parking signs on their street due to Cornwall Transit detours through their neighbourhood.

St. Marseille guesses the culvert replacement, which isn’t budgeted for, will cost around $500,000.