LONDON, ONT. -- Stage two has begun to replace a section of a century-old sewer system underneath the downtown core.

The sewer-separation is a continuation of sewer work that began in 2018.

The project is at the intersection of King and Richmond Streets. That strip is temporarily closed to traffic until early September of this year but pedestrians will be allowed access to sidewalks.

The City of London has invested almost $11 million into the ten year project, and say the goal is to improve the health of the Thames River and support new downtown developments by “reducing or even eliminating the chance of wastewater overflows.”

“Right now we are taking off the top layer of asphalt and underneath is where we are going to find all kinds of infrastructure,” says Jim Yanchula, Manager of Downtown Projects for the city.

Yanchula says the oldest parts of the century-old-sewers are made with red bricks that date back to the middle of the 1800s.

“It’s right time to upsize them, make them bigger and also upgrade them and make them more whole. The main reason for doing this is to separate our storm water and our sanitary water.”

Watershed Manger, Patrick Donnelly says the 43-kilometres of Thames River that runs through London, will be much healthier and happier because of it.

“When the cities were first built it was basically common practice to make one sewer and all the water went into it, water off the street, water off the sidewalk and then wastewater. Now we are separating them so the waste water goes to the treatment plant and the storm water is going to where it should be going…draining to the watercourses,” says Donnelly.

Donnelly says the work on the road-ways will directly improve the waterways.

“Not only in removing pathogens and the nasty things in waste water but it will also remove phosphorus that contributes to algae growth.”

The City of London says in a press release that they will “take the opportunity to improve the streets in the immediate surrounding area by resurfacing the streets and sidewalks.”

Yanchula says that he has been in communication with business owners and is in the process of posting store’s entry points along the construction site’s fence.

Cyclists will have to dismount when travelling around the closed intersection.

If you take the LTC you can look at any detours here.

More traffic detour details can be found on the City of London’s website.