Posts Tagged ‘Newmarket’

paving in stages to get it done right

Friday, October 9th, 2015

paving in stages to get it done right

As much as it has a huge impact on our day-to-day quality of life, it’s probably safe to say that roadway design is not very top-of-mind for most of us.  This is probably true, even for the part of the road that we all directly interact with every time we get in a vehicle: the asphalt paving that covers the surface.

Yet for anyone impatient for the last stages to be finished along the newly widened Davis Drive in Newmarket, it’s helpful to understand the paving process overall, and why this final stage of each rapidway project seems to take such a long time to complete.

Most roads in Canada are paved with the familiar black asphalt, which is a mix of a binding ingredient and gravel.  Asphalt is popular because it’s relatively inexpensive to install compared to concrete, wears well, and can be restored many times before the road needs to be completely rebuilt.  Given the cost and disruption involved with repairing or rebuilding a road, it’s critically important that you get the asphalt “mix” right, and put the asphalt down properly in the first place.

The first fact to understand is that not all asphalt paving is the same.  The wear and tear on a road will depend on the volume of traffic it gets, including how many vehicles are trucks or cars, and how fast they’re going.  Whether the traffic is generally driving straight, or is turning, or stopping and starting as is the case at a busy intersection, will affect the wear.  So asphalt mixes vary, depending on how durable it needs to be to stand up to the traffic it will carry. Different mixes have different installation requirements, including how long they take to cure before they can take heavy traffic.

The other important consideration with asphalt is that proper installation makes all the difference to how well it will wear.  There are a number of steps that have to be taken to ensure the durability of the asphalt, in addition to getting the mix right:

  • First, the gravel base that the top layers go over has to be in excellent condition. It needs to be perfectly smooth, level and compact, or else the top asphalt can crack and pothole more quickly.
  • The air temperature needs to be within a certain range: too hot or too cold, and the asphalt won’t last as long.
  • It needs to be installed in wide swathes extending across lanes, to avoid having too many joints.
  • It needs to be carefully tied in at side streets, to make sure the entire roadway is smooth and level.
  • The asphalt at intersections, which get extra heavy wear from vehicles braking, accelerating and turning, needs to be especially carefully installed.

The distinctive red asphalt on our vivaNext rapidways and intersections has its own requirements, and has to be laid down last, in a single layer, once the blacktop is completely set.

Working out a construction schedule that allows us to meet all these requirements before the weather gets too cold, requires that access to the roadway is completely restricted for short periods, within small segments.  Our team is working closely with the community to minimize the disruption as much as possible, although we know this stage is going to be challenging for everyone.

Getting the final stages done right has a direct impact on the long term performance of the road and the new rapid transit system.  As much as we want to be finished as soon as possible, speeding up the process simply is not an option. By building to the highest standards now, we’ll have a high quality road that will perform well for years to come.


final paving on Davis Drive is underway!

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

final paving on Davis Drive is underway!

Final paving is here! This week you’ll start to see the distinctive red asphalt on the rapidway and intersections along the Davis Drive corridor in Newmarket. It’s exciting because final paving means that underground utilities and infrastructure work is complete, the road has been widened to accommodate the centre lane rapidway and the medians and curbs are in place. All these elements help define a new urban destination for Newmarket. This is a significant milestone in the transformation of Davis Drive.

If you travel along Davis on a regular basis, you’re already aware of the fundamental changes that have been made to the way people drive, walk and ride on the corridor. New intersections allow for protected left-turns and u-turns, and feature optional two-stage pedestrian crossings, and accessibility features like audible chirps to aid people who are visually impaired. For the eco-conscious, the greenery planned for Davis Drive and the connections to paths like the Tom Taylor Trail will make the sidewalks and boulevards inviting spaces for all.

It’s not just Davis that’s getting a shiny new coat, the side streets that connect to Davis will be paved at the intersections so that they tie-in nicely with the new road.

Even after years of planning, design and construction, the rapidway just feels more tangible and real when we apply our distinct red asphalt to the road. There’s something special about knowing that you’re contributing to the future growth and prosperity of entire neighbourhoods, towns and regions by connecting people to the places they work, shop and play.

We are already seeing the benefits of improved traffic flow and travel times along Highway 7 in Richmond Hill and Markham, and the YRT/Viva network continues to grow.

To get there is a messy process, there’s no doubt. But we are asking you to hang in there with us over the next month or so, and we hope that you’ll share our enthusiasm for the finished product.


Newmarket Jazz Festival

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Newmarket Jazz Festival

It’s already the middle of summer, and despite the heat, we hope you’ve been out in the weather, having fun. This weekend, the Newmarket Jazz Festival is the place to be for great music, fun activities for the kids, and food and vendors of all kinds.

Come out Friday night, 5:30-11pm – for the free t-shirts [first 500 ticket-holders], activities and music on two stages. On Saturday and Sunday from noon to 11pm and Monday from noon to 8pm, there will be more music, a Creative Kids Zone and special performances for the kids.

The vivaNext team will be there handing out scratch ‘n’ win cards, so stop by our booth and chat. And have a happy and safe long weekend!


paving season is always a good news story

Monday, May 25th, 2015

click here to see the paving video!

If it’s spring, it must be paving season! [see the video]

It’s not unusual for us at vivaNext to get very excited about paving season because it is always a good news story. The fact is construction can be dusty and disruptive – but, just like seeing the leaves open up on the trees in spring – the surest sign that the heavy construction is nearing its end is when the paving crews arrive.

Currently, as platform construction continues for the future vivastations along Highway 7 in Vaughan, the next segments of base-layer paving have begun between Edgeley Blvd./Interchange Way to Keele St. This paving will be completed in sections over the next two months and will include closures and detours.

One question you may be asking is why do crews revisit a section once it’s paved? The process happens layer by layer, which is why the crews will come back to the same location more than once. Because Highway 7 has to bear the load of regular traffic and heavy vehicles, we need to start with a solid base layer to make sure the road holds up over time.

To create the red pavement on the rapidways, we use a special pigment that is carefully mixed to achieve the right balance of rich red and rugged durability.

Each step needs to be done in sequence, and takes a certain amount of time. While the paving itself doesn’t take more than a few hours, fresh pavement can’t handle traffic right away. Also, we plan the work outside of busy business traffic times of the week, and the day – for example, crews typically work overnight and on weekends – weather permitting.

To stay informed about the paving activities along Highway 7 in Vaughan this spring and summer, check out our paving page at On you can also find Davis Drive paving and construction info, and sign up for construction updates.


bringing rapid transit to your doorstep… a behind the scenes look at building a vivastation

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Bringing rapid transit to your doorstep… a behind the scenes look at building a vivastation

Throughout the fall and winter, crews have endured every kind of weather Mother Nature has thrown their way, while installing the vivastation at Longford/Parkside and Davis. There are many detailed steps to constructing a vivastation, and as we shared with you last year, it takes careful planning and precision throughout those stages of the construction.

We’ve captured components of the delivery, installation and construction for the west and eastbound platforms at Longford and Davis on video to provide you with a behind-the-scenes look and better understanding of what it takes to build a vivastation. All of the vivastations that are built as part of the vivaNext bus rapidway project are an important component of the top-notch transit system in York Region. When the Davis rapidway is in service this December 2015, transit users will enjoy the convenience of the new-technology and innovative features that each Viva vehicle and vivastation offers.

As you can see in the video, the vivastation was constructed piece-by-piece, like a puzzle, and crews will continue braving the elements to add the finishing touches to the west and eastbound platforms at Longford/Davis throughout the year. The vivastations at Main and Southlake Regional Health Centre are also progressing right on schedule and will give transit riders all the same conveniences.

By the end of the year, Viva will be running on Davis Drive from Yonge Street to Highway 404 and residents and visitors to the area will begin to experience the benefits of having rapid transit at their doorsteps. We know living through construction hasn’t been easy and we’re grateful for everyone’s patience as we work as quickly as possible to complete this large undertaking.


earth hour – make it count

Friday, March 27th, 2015

earth hour 2015

It’s that time of year again, when we turn off the lights and other electronics for an hour on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30pm. To raise awareness about climate change, this hour reminds us that with only a small amount of effort we can use less energy. In York Region and Simcoe County last year, Powerstream recorded 48 megawatts in savings – enough to power 1,480 homes for 24 hours.

Aside from Earth Hour, you can be planet-friendly by doing things like using energy-efficient light bulbs, mowing your lawn less, walking or biking and sharing your ride or by taking transit. Viva may be blue, but it is a great green alternative! Every little thing counts, and it all adds up to a healthier environment.

So, York Region… enjoy your candle-lit dinners, your early-spring walks, some quiet time or take a ride on transit. If you’re looking for Earth Hour activities Saturday, check out some of the events happening around the Region, at community centres and local businesses: Powerstream blog about events in Markham and Vaughan, Facebook community page for Earth Hour in Newmarket, Earth Hour 2015 official video.

2014 – a year of action

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

2014 - a year of action

As 2014 draws to a close, we’re pleased to say that each of our projects saw great progress this year. The Bus Rapid Transit projects start and end at different times so each has its own construction schedule to match the unique challenges, such as: length of rapidway, complexity of underground work, and landscape and infrastructure features like hills and bridges. As we progress through these challenges we consider them milestones, and after a year of milestones there are plenty of moments to look back on.

On Highway 7 East in Markham, the second stretch of rapidway opened from Highway 404 to South Town Centre Boulevard, and construction will be complete on the last piece to Warden Avenue by the end of 2014, with some finishing touches to add in spring 2015. This final section allows Viva customers to experience the future of rapid transit in York Region, from Bayview Avenue in Richmond Hill to the Downtown Markham development area. Riders are already seeing up to 35% travel time savings on the rapidways.

In Newmarket on Davis Drive, utilities and telecommunications were relocated to prepare for road widening and building the rapidways in the centre of the road. Road widening continued and base-layer paving was also completed in sections along Davis. Significant milestones included: completing the structure of the Keith Bridge and reopening the Tom Taylor Trail, moving the Union Hotel into its final location and installing the steel structures for the first vivastation at Longford/Parkside. The glass canopies will be installed over the winter and the vivastations at Main Street and Southlake Hospital are also underway. It’s been a busy, messy year but crews are working quickly. We’re in the home stretch with the rapidway set to open December 2015.

Along Highway 7 West in Vaughan, the first phase of rapidways is well underway and a there has been a lot of progress in 2014. Between Jane Street and the CN Bridge, work continues on base-layer paving, building retaining walls and expanding the CN Bridge, and we’re almost done relocating some underground infrastructure. East of Jane Street, the road has been widened and traffic has been shifted, so that work in the centre of the road [including paving, installing vivastations platforms and canopies!] can begin in 2015. The contract for phase two of the rapidways in Vaughan will be awarded in 2015, adding dedicated bus lanes and vivastations from Edgeley Boulevard to Pine Valley Drive and from Bowes Road to Yonge Street [in blue on map]. While some pre-construction activities are already underway, construction is expected to begin in late 2015/early 2016.

On Yonge Street in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, the contractor is working to finalize the rapidway design and construction schedule. Meanwhile, crews are out conducting surveys and utility investigations to make sure we have an accurate record of what’s above and below the ground.

We’re also building a state-of-the-art Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility in Richmond Hill to act as a ‘home base’ for transit. This nine-acre, 481,679 square foot facility will be LEED® certified [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design], and is scheduled to be complete mid-2015.

Everyone’s busy making memories during the holidays, but we hope that you’ll have a few moments to see some of our videos that give you a sneak peak at rapid transit in York Region:

Where did it all begin? See the launch of curbside Viva service in 2005. Also see the vision for the transformation of York Region and some of the considerations given to the design of the rapidway vivastation, and take a peek inside the rapidway vivastations.

While you’re watching videos, why not find out what’s happening in your community:




from messy to marvelous – davis drive year in review

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Video: from messy to marvelous - davis drive year in review

It’s an exciting time as the transformation of Davis Drive has made significant progress and is starting to be seen along the corridor.

A lot of progress above ground was made this year and a number of milestones were achieved, all of which clears the way for 2015 and the last year of construction. We thank you for bearing with us through the mess and as we work hard to finish as quickly as possible.

Standing at Yonge and Davis, you can look down Davis Drive and see the installation of boulevards and planters. As you travel to your destination you’ll notice the decorative planters along with interlocking paving stones and concrete sidewalks in areas from Yonge Street to Longford/Parkside Drive.

Construction of the vivastation at Parkside/Longford and Davis is making great progress. The steel structure for the vivastation is in place and the glass for the canopies will be arriving soon.

Construction of two more vivastations at Main and Southlake Hospital are also underway.

The structure of the Keith Bridge has been rebuilt and the Tom Taylor Trail has been restored to its original location under Keith Bridge; which is located just past the GO train station.

VivaNext will be moving to the next phase of rapidway construction where station platforms, canopies and eventually rapid transit bus lanes will be built in the centre of the road. As a result, there will be permanent changes to how motorists use intersections, traffic lanes and access businesses along Davis. New traffic signals have been installed at Yonge, George and Barbara. Drivers can now make dedicated left-turns and U-turns where U-turn permitted signs are posted. From our experience on Highway 7, these new movements help the traffic flow smoother. For more information on these important changes please visit

We captured a number of these accomplishments on video and condensed them into a short clip for your viewing pleasure. The investment in modernizing our roads and revitalizing Newmarket’s infrastructure will go a long way to making sure Davis Drive is built on a solid foundation that will serve the growing needs of Newmarket for many decades to come. We look forward to the rapidway opening in 2015 and bringing Viva service to Davis Drive.

newmarket’s union hotel has a new home

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

newmarket’s union hotel has a new home

Rapidways are on the way to Davis Drive and to make room, the Union Hotel on the northeast corner of Davis Drive and Main Street has been moved to its new location at the back of the original property. It took careful precision and planning to move this old building to its permanent foundation and now it’s finally settled in. We captured the preservation of this important piece of history on video. Check out the full behind-the-scenes video to see how it was done.

Built in 1881, the Union Hotel is one of Newmarket’s many distinctive heritage buildings. Designed by local architect John Ough, it still has many of its original features, including mouldings, staircases and woodwork. Although it’s known as the “Union Hotel,” past owners include James Burke, who manufactured soda water here, Patrick Hodgins Sr., who used it as a store and residence, and more recently Robert Armstrong with a real estate business.

Relocating the Union Hotel ensures the gateway to Newmarket’s downtown heritage area is preserved.


intersections are changing: u-turns and 2-stage crosswalks

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

intersections are changing: u-turns and 2-stage crosswalks

On Highway 7 West and Davis Drive in Newmarket, important changes are on the way for how drivers and pedestrians use intersections and travel along the road. Each rapidway project is at a different stage, and along the Highway 7 East rapidway in Markham and Richmond Hill, these road and intersection changes have been in effect for about two years.

Aside from rapidways for fast, convenient transit, projects include wider sidewalks and attractive landscaping. Each project helps to connect York Region, and manage future growth for generations to come. Once construction is underway in the centre of the road on Highway 7 West and Davis Drive, here are some of the changes that you need to watch for, and follow the signs:

Dedicated left-turns

  • Dedicated left-turn lanes at rapidway intersections
  • Dedicated left-turn signals – motorists can only turn left when the left-turn arrow is illuminated

Right-turn access, via intersections with u-turn signs

  • To access to mid-block destinations on the opposite side of the road, motorists will make u-turns at intersections.
  • Rapidway intersections with u-turn signs will allow drivers to make a u-turn from the left turn lane, once the left-turn arrow is illuminated.
  • Global studies of traffic control have shown this to be a safer way to turn left on a multi-lane road.

Shared lanes for right-turn and through traffic

  • Curb-side lanes will be shared by right-turning and straight-through traffic.

Two-stage pedestrian crossings

  • Intersections will be wider with the new rapidway lanes.
  • Pedestrians may cross intersections in two stages if unable to cross in the first signal.
  • A waiting area will be in the middle of the crosswalk, where pedestrians can press the “walk” button and wait for the next signal.
  • Pedestrians will need to press the “walk” button for the “walk” signal to be displayed.