Traffic nightmare on Anthony Henday Drive
If you take the south-west leg of the Anthony Henday during your daily commute, you’ve probably experienced a headache or two. Construction has reduced sections of the road down to one lane, causing a traffic nightmare for those who use it on a daily basis.
“I’ve seen some of the holes and seen some of the work they’re doing on re-topping it. It makes you wonder why that wasn’t done originally in the first place, absolutely,” says Jay White.
“I wonder why they didn’t get it right the first time,” says Robert Slade.
The 14 kilometre stretch of the Henday is paved with concrete, the only section in Alberta paved with pure concrete. Jeanna Friedley with Alberta Transportation calls the road work “standard maintenance and review.”
However, this was not what motorists were told back in 2004, when the decision was made to pave the section of road with concrete.
“The biggest advantage, I suppose, is on the maintenance side of things. Once this concrete is down and laid, there shouldn’t be any maintenance for 25 years or so. So, really, there’s no more delays once this roadway is done,” said a spokesperson with the Cement Association of Canada.
It’s only been six years and already the entire section is being cut out and repaved.
“When we initially did the cost benefit analysis, it showed that concrete for this section of road would be a better value for Albertans,” says Friedley.
The City of Edmonton also does cost benefit analysis when it comes to the paving of city roads.
“Concrete is an option but, it’s not a very well used option,” says Hugh Donovan with the City of Edmonton Engineering Services.
Donovan says there are only about six sections of the city paved with concrete and it costs about twice as much as asphalt. Donovan says the city takes that, as well as repair time into consideration when paving Edmonton’s roads.
“The most effective way to rehab a road is the quickest possible way and in most cases that’s an asphalt road with an asphalt option,” says Donovan adding, “It’s a lot more time consuming when it comes to repairing concrete versus asphalt.”
The reason for that is because the concrete has to be cut out and completely repaved. Plus,
“Concrete takes seven days to cure,” explains Friedley.
Still, the province maintains it was done right the first time.
“This was a scheduled repair maintenance that we expected to do on this type of roadway at this stage in the roadway. So, motorists shouldn’t expect to see continued work on that section of the Henday next summer,” says Friedley adding, “If we can all just be a little bit patient now, we should have far fewer maintenance days over the long term on this section of road.”
The Alberta Ready Mixed Concrete Association says there may have been a problem with the way the base was put down, but says the concrete is not failing.
Friedley says the construction should be complete by the end of September.
With files from Kendra Slugoski.