EDMONTON – The road construction season has official started in Edmonton, with 125 projects worth $404 million on the horizon.
“This is a big construction season,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “Certainly, there’s going to be a lot of disruption on the roads. I think over 100 kilometres of repaving on main roads.”
A city reports suggests a dedicated $55 million a year will be directed to improving arterial roads for four years starting in 2015.
Byron Nicholson, with the City of Edmonton, believes that amount will definitely help crews get the road network up to a better rating.
In addition to reconstruction, preventative maintenance is also a priority.
“We’re always looking at getting better performance out of our products, whether that be the materials themselves or how they’re placed down,” Nicholson said. “So we’re going to work with the road builders to make sure that the methods of paving, things like that, we’re getting best practices.”
Right now, it’s estimated that 18 per cent of the city roads are in poor condition. Iveson would like to see that number drop to about 10 per cent in the years ahead.
The renewal of an 11-block stretch of Parsons Road is one of 38 arterial road projects the city will be working on.
But one of the bigger headaches for commuters, Nicholson says, will likely be the Walterdale bridge project, which will force closure of Walterdale Hill at the beginning of May.
Another location that will surely be the source of some frustration is the 102 Avenue bridge over Groat Road. The section is already down to one lane due to bridge repairs; it is set to close in early July.
“Obviously we’ll ask for motorists’ patience and for them to plan routes,” said Iveson.
With hopes of a smoother ride in the years ahead, that’s an inconvenience Dennis Chernichen doesn’t mind putting up with.
“I think the main issue,” he said, “is that they waited too long. And now it’s a real city-wide problem.”
Iveson explains that there are a number of factors which have contributed to Edmonton’s poor state of roads.
“We’re know we’re dealing with difficult soil conditions which causes the roads to deteriorate faster than in other communities.”
He also cited Edmonton’s short construction season, and the city’s frequent freeze-thaw conditions as culprits.
You can see the projects that will affect your commute on the road construction map below:
Here’s a look at the financial breakdown of the road construction projects:
With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News
© Shaw Media, 2014