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417 to close in both directions at Lees overnight Saturday

The highway simply will not be a short cut this weekend, according to city staff ahead of plans to shut down all lanes of the highway at Lees Avenue overnight Saturday to replace the overpass bridge.

Lees also remains closed between Chapel Crescent and the Transitway, a closure in effect until September.

Detours will be posted but drivers can still expect traffic mayhem.

All lanes of the 417 will close at 6 p.m. Saturday between Metcalfe and the Vanier Parkway. One lane in each direction is set to reopen by 11 a.m. Sunday with all the lanes reopened by 5 a.m. Monday, in time for the morning rush.

Eastbound drivers heading to Gatineau or downtown will exit the highway at Nicholas while drivers bypassing the downtown core will exit at Metcalfe and follow Isabella to the Pretoria Bridge, take Hawthorne to Main Street and follow Main Street to Riverside which will take them back to the highway.

Drivers heading westbound toward downtown will also exit at Nicholas but those bypassing the core will be directed to the Vanier Parkway where they'll follow Riverside to Bronson back to the 417.

Westbound detours

Parking on the streets affected by the detours will not be allowed in the direction heaviest volume is expected. Signs will be posted.

With festivals and events taking place in the core this weekend and a slew of other construction ongoing in the capital getting around downtown isn't going to be easy.

Manager of traffic management Greg Kent said Ottawa Police have been contracted to be on scene directing traffic.

"We also go through our standard process of monitoring, setting up at our traffic control centre, watching our traffic cameras, adjusting signal timings, addressing any issues that come up as a result of the closure," said Kent.

He said despite all of the activity in the downtown core and congestion drivers are now more than familiar with because of other construction problems they are not anticipating major issues with this project.

They are, once again, suggesting you avoid the area and if you are heading downtown they suggest you take the bus, ride your bike, or walk.

The rapid bridge replacement is a provincially funded project but it's under the supervision of the City of Ottawa because it coincides with the expansion of the 417 for LRT construction.

There will not be an official viewing area for the replacement as there has been for some other MTO rapid bridge replacements.

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