GUELPH — Improvements just completed on Eastview Road will make the area safer for pedestrians, cyclists and frogs.
Eastview Road just west of Watson Parkway reopened to traffic Monday after four months of construction.
It now has a sidewalk between Starwood Drive and Summit Ridge Drive on the north side of the road, and a multi-use path between Summit Ridge Drive and Watson Parkway on the south side of the road.
The new traffic signal at Eastview/Watson includes left turn lanes and there is a signalized crossing between Starwood and Watson.
But perhaps the most unique feature of the reconstruction are three underground tunnels that serve to make is safer for frogs, salamanders and toads to cross from one side of the wetlands in that section of the road to the other.
“It’s a special product that allows the frogs to cross under the road without being run over,” said Ken VanderWal, the city’s project engineer for the work
“We did an environmental impact study in the area… they monitored for two or three days and there were several hundred frog fatalities,” he said.
The specific work includes a half pipe on the Hadati Creek side on the north side of the road that directs amphibians to three tunnels that will take them safely under the road to the wetlands on the south side.
VanderWal said they would be used by the amphibians during the spring and fall.
He also said that the city has put similar crossings for a similar reason on Poppy Drive in the south end of the city.
“They’re called wildlife crossings. There are a large amount of frogs in that area, they’re coming from the provincially-significant wetlands in that area across Eastview Road to Hadati Creek,” VanderWal said.
“There are three of them, so that they can get across the road safely.”
The city completed an Environmental Impact Statement last June to identify how construction might impact the wildlife habitats on either side of the road and to develop plans to mitigate possible impacts.