End finally in sight for East End road closure?

Portugal Cove Road residents are looking forward to getting things back to normal after months of road work.

Part of a construction site. A large concrete structure behind a fence.
Part of the water main replacement project located where Portugal Cove Road meets New Cove Road. One resident describes this structure as being the size of a small bungalow. Amy Fitzpatrick/Kicker


Amy Fitzpatrick

People living near the intersection of Portugal Cove Road and New Cove Road must wait a while longer before traffic disruptions caused by city work are behind them.

Part of Portugal Cove Road has been closed since early April for major water main work. On April 5, the city announced Portugal Cove Road would be closed to traffic from New Cove Road to Elizabeth Avenue to facilitate Phase 2 of a water main replacement project.

At first, residents thought the road would be reopened by the end of August. Then, the city set Oct. 31 as the completion date.

Now, according to a spokesperson from the City of St. John’s, the project will wrap up in December. Traffic will be back to normal for the winter. However, there will be some traffic disruptions in the spring. Final paving will not be completed until then to allow a base level of asphalt to settle.

contruction materials and gravel piles on a street.
A portion of the construction site at the top of Portugal Cove Road and New Cove Road. This is the location of the road closure. Amy Fitzpatrick/Kicker

Mary Farewell’s family has lived in the neighborhood for 60 years. Her home is just a few houses down from where the road is closed off and major work is ongoing.

“It’s been a very stressful summer,” said Farewell. “It gets to the point where when you come out and you’re going somewhere and they’re all over the place. It just gives you this feeling of stress – the noise and the equipment all around you.”

Farewell said the construction workers have been “very obliging” and have even helped her carry packages from her car when she couldn’t access her driveway. But she’s ready to have things back to normal.

“We know it has to go on, but the length of time that they’re putting us through, through the whole summer. We did not realize it would be this much.”

Construction crews with Pyramid Construction have been working Monday to Friday and every second Saturday to complete the work. They start at 7 a.m. and finish up around 5:30 p.m. on most days.

A couple standing in their front yard with a large bag of leaves on a Fall day in St. John's.
Brian and Janet Collins take advantage of a quiet Saturday to do some yard work. The Collins live on Gooseberry Lane just a few houses up from Portugal Cove Road and the ongoing construction. Amy Fitzpatrick/Kicker

“And it was certainly early in the morning,” said area resident Janet Collins. “You didn’t wake up to the sound of birds; you woke up to the sound of trucks.”

Collins and her husband, Brian, live on Gooseberry Lane, just a few houses up from where the construction has been taking place. They have lived in the neighbourhood for 10 years.

Like most of the residents in the area, the couple understand that the work has to be done but admit that the road closures and unplanned water cut-offs have been an inconvenience.

“We were able to live with it and it had to be done,” said Brian “(But) it’s the length of time … it’s been a long time.”

According the city, the project took longer than expected because once the project had begun the city identified other things that needed attention – such as the replacement of sidewalks and curbs in the area.


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