A massive upgrade to the storm water drainage system in downtown Edmonton has run into an even bigger problem. The bottom line for businesses and motorists near 105 Street is, at best guess, it’ll take so long to fix it, you’ll be seeing snow again.
“Unfortunately we expect that this will take until December,” EPCOR’s Tim LeRiche confirmed.
The sewer upgrade has been planned for years to accommodate the explosion of new condos, office towers and Ice District adding to the density of downtown.
LeRiche said Tuesday crews found a major problem in the vicinity of the Standard Life building.
“We did our initial soil testing, which indicated that there’d be soft clay and water and sand down there but you never really know until you get there. What’s happened is the boring machine has now hit some really tough clay and it doesn’t have enough hydraulic pressure behind it to push it through that tough clay.
“We bored our way into much tougher ground conditions than we originally expected.”
The less technical explanation is: it’s stuck. So the remedy is to dig a large hole in the middle of 105 Street and have a shaft go down to the problem spot.
“We’re going to have to dig an access tunnel through 105 Street down to the boring machine, winch the boring machine out, drop a new hydraulic system in there and then put the boring machine back down, and that will give it the push it needs to complete the tunnel.”
What it means for those trying to get to the area is, depending where you’re coming from, you can’t.
“Motorists will not be able to turn off Jasper Avenue south onto 105 Street. Those travelling south from the north side of Jasper won’t be able to go all the way across southbound on 105th, and that begins next Wednesday, April 4.”
If you’re coming up the hill from the south, it won’t be easy.
“There will still be one lane northbound,” LeRiche said.
“We understand that this is a disruption for the community so we’ve been out talking to as many people in the neighbourhood who work down there, and the businesses down there to let them know what was happening and why it was happening and doing everything we can to minimize the disruption as much as possible and get the project done as soon as we can and get it done properly.”
Just in time for Christmas shopping.