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Queen St. (Spring Garden Rd. to Morris St.):
Undergrounding & Street Renewal
Eye level rendering
Intersection Queen St. & Spring Garden Rd.

With scheduled completion of external components of the Halifax Central library and library plaza construction in fall/winter 2013/14, a rare opportunity exists to improve the public realm by:

  1. burying overhead electrical and telecommunication wires along Queen St.;
  2. providing underground service connections to new development;
  3. removing wooden poles in 2014 (ie after all underground connections are complete);
  4. reinstating the street with new sidewalks and new pavement;
  5. installing new street and traffic lights;
  6. enhancing the intersection with widened sidewalks.


Frequently Asked Questions

Aerial view of construction areaWhere will construction take place?

Construction will take place on Queen St. (from Spring Garden Rd. [SGR] to Morris St.). The project includes several metres of renewal in all directions (i.e., east to west and north to south) at the SGR intersection.




What street improvements will there be with the project?

Where the construction will take place

1. Queen Street (Spring Garden Rd. to Clyde St.)

  • electrical and telecommunication undergrounding
  • street asphalt replacement
  • pedestrian bulbs
  • new street lights
  • new traffic signals
  • sidewalk replacement
  • street furnishings
  • curb replacement

2. Queen Street (Clyde St. to Morris St.)

  • street asphalt resurfacing

3. Spring Garden Road, South Side(Queen St. - Brunswick St.)

  • sidewalk replacement
  • new transit shelter
  • new street lights
  • electrical and telecommunication undergrounding

What is the timeline for the project?

Construction will take place over summer months with the intent to be substantially complete by early September. Removal of power poles by Nova Scotia Power Inc., and reinstatement of sidewalk sections that are associated with pole removal will take place in 2014.


May 3 – 22, 2013 - Construction Tender

  • construction documents to implement detailed design of street renewal & undergrounding are publicised

Mid-June 2013  - Report to Halifax Regional Council

  • HRM staff recommend award of contract to lowest bidder who meets tender requirements

Mid-June 2013 - Detailed Construction Schedule

  • Contractor submits construction schedule to HRM staff prior to construction start

Mid-June 2013 - Commence Construction

  • Queen St (from Spring Garden Rd to Clyde St) will be closed to vehicles during construction
  • pedestrian throughway will be maintained along Queen St
  • the contractor may elect to perform construction during evenings and weekends to meet deadline

Aug 30, 2013 - Milestone 1

  • completion of intersection construction at Queen St/Spring Garden Rd as per preliminary construction schedule

Oct 2013 - Milestone 2

  • substantial completion of construction along Queen St (Spring Garden Rd to Morris St) as per preliminary construction schedule

Fall 2013 – Spring 2014 - Finishing work

  • NSP to remove poles from Queen St & switch power to underground infrastructure
  • sidewalk slabs are reinstated where power poles are removed
  • traffic signals are installed at intersection of Queen/SGR
  • final lift of new asphalt is paved (i.e., after all construction is complete)

Summer/Fall 2014 - Construction completed

  • deficiencies and final details are address
  • all areas opened for public use


Is the funding already approved for this project?

Yes. Regional Council approved this project as part of the 2013/14 HRM Capital Budget.


How have the businesses and property owners on the street been involved in the project?

The Spring Garden Area Business Association (SGABA) and their Streetscaping Committee have been consulted through several meetings, and adjustments to design have been made based on their input.

The basis of the design for this 2013 project is the Spring Garden Streetscape completed in 2009, which was developed by HRM and the Spring Garden Area Business Association. The process developed a vision and concept of the future SGR, as well as completed detail design.


I have a business near the construction. How will my business be impacted?

As with all right-of-way construction projects (e.g., undergrounding, road & sidewalk improvements) that take place near homes and businesses, disruptions to automobile and pedestrian traffic flow can be expected. HRM seeks to reduce the impact of construction on neighbouring businesses by means of construction notices, signs advising pedestrians of detours, open business hours, and methods by which construction may be accelerated in order to reduce the overall length of time an area is under construction.

What is undergrounding?

In this project, ‘undergrounding’ refers to the replacement of overhead electrical and telecommunications wires, poles, and transformers, with underground cables, ducts, transformers, switches, and other necessary equipment. Underground infrastructure may also refer to service laterals to individual properties, as well as water, sewer, and gas mains. HRM is working closely with utility providers (i.e., NSPI, Bell/Aliant, Eastlink, Heritage Gas, Halifax Water) on these initiatives.

Cross section of undergrounding

What are the benefits of undergrounding here?

  1. Undergrounding is an opportunity to modernize and upgrade electrical and telecommunications systems for on-going functionality;
  2. Placing wires and other equipment underground along Queen St is an important first step in undergrounding along Spring Garden Rd and adjoining side streets in the future;
  3. Removal of overhead wires and wooden poles, permits installation of ornamental street lights, and improves the view of the street;
  4. An improved street will also complement the central library and private development at the intersection of Queen St and Clyde St;
  5. Undergrounding will reduce the risk of power and telecommunications failures due to extreme weather events.


Where else in HRM has undergrounding been done?

The most recent example is adjacent the new ‘VIC’ Building, at the corner of Morris and Hollis Streets.


Why is the undergrounding not continuing down Queen Street or Clyde Street?

Undergrounding, sidewalk renewal, and new street lights along Clyde Street and Birmingham Street are pending private development of the Clyde Street (Mary Ann) lot.

By agreement of purchase and sale, Banc Developments /Clyde Street Developments Ltd. must commence that work (ie, footings in ground) by September 2014.

Queen St (from Clyde St to Morris St) will only receive a fresh layer of asphalt paving in the street. New sidewalks and undergrounding are limited to Queen St (from Spring Garden to Clyde.) This is due to the limits of the Pole Free Zone established by the Capital District in 2005. New sidewalks are not warranted for replacement along this portion of Queen St.


What are the plans for more undergrounding in HRM?

The approach to undergrounding overhead wires is done in association with new development, street renewals, funding, and other street renewal opportunities. A series of criteria (ie aesthetic/heritage, benefit to pedestrian realm, urban forest impact, economic impact, and capital project opportunity coordination) as established by Regional Council in 2006 are used to prioritize project proposals within the pole free zone of downtown Halifax and Dartmouth.


Will parking spaces be lost by changes to the street?

The Spring Garden Road area has the highest pedestrian volumes east of Montreal. In order to further enhance pedestrian space and experience, approximately two parking spaces on the southwest side of Queen Street will be displaced by a widening of the sidewalk near the intersection, what is known as a pedestrian “bulb-out”. The new central library will include approximately 86 parking spaces in the underground parking structure, and approximately 8 parking meters will added to the library side of the street after construction is complete.


Why is the work not extending down Spring Garden to South Park Street and to Barrington Street?

The Halifax Central Library project created this unique opportunity to enhance the adjoining streets (Queen St. and a portion of Spring Garden Rd.).

Future capital planning recommends a comprehensive renewal of Spring Garden Road (from Queen St. to South Park St.), pending Council approval.


What are potential impacts on new infrastructure renewal with the redevelopment of adjacent sites?

It is typical that during construction of a private lot, if public infrastructure (e.g., sidewalks) is damaged, then private development is responsible for reinstatement. Sometimes, a developer elects to improve the adjoining public areas (eg, sidewalks, streets) to a higher standard in consultation with the city.

Bird's eye view
North along Queen St. To Spring Garden Road
Looking at the Central Library South Plaza
Corner of Spring Garden Road and Queen Street, looking south onto Queen.
Spring Garden Road bus stop
Central Library North Plaza and corner of Spring Garden Road and Queen Street.