Published on September 13, 2013
A map of the city’s 2013 downtown paving program is seen, indicating what city crews hope to accomplish within the next six weeks or so.
City of Prince Albert photo
Published on September 13, 2013
Crews work on repaving of First Avenue East, which is being paved from 15th Street to River Street.
Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
A few days into the downtown area’s repaving, capital projects manager Wes Hicks said that things should progress quickly from now to the winter freeze-up.
“As we had projected, we would be downtown in September and here we are,” he said. “We don’t have a specific timeframe for each street, because as soon as one is completed we move on to the next one.”
For motorists, the downtown core’s repaving will mean more time on the road taking detours – something the city is doing its best to mitigate, Hicks said.
Taking the repaving of a stretch of 10th Street East aside, public works director Colin Innes was asked during last week’s executive committee meeting why paving stopped at First Avenue East, when that street was also scheduled for repaving.
It’s all about traffic flow, Innes told council, noting that First Avenue East is a major arterial for the downtown area. At the time a stretch of Central Avenue was also closed.
Repaving of First Avenue East began on Wednesday, diverting traffic to the now re-opened Central Avenue and other streets.
“Downtown is kind of bound-in, although we have a small downtown, but you’re bound in by only having one bridge, the Gateway Mall and Central Avenue being one way,” Hicks said.
“There’s still always a way to get there, it just means that people have to travel a couple extra blocks in probably the direction that they probably didn’t start on to begin with.”
Work is expected to take about six weeks from the Sept. 11 start date, he said, adding that, as always, it’s weather dependent.
“We hope to be finished sooner than (the six weeks), but there are some possible weather issues, but we’ve been having excellent weather since Aug. 1,” he said.
“The rain earlier in the season did set us back somewhat, but it’s been nothing but good weather for the last six weeks.”
Earlier this year, the city’s elected officials doubled the annual paving budget, bringing it to $4 million -- a level at which council was told that city roads would remain at their current overall state.
The intent, Hicks explained, is to ensure that the entire city is paved every 24 years -- the average lifespan of roads in our climate. Some last longer, some not as long, he explained.
One concern of council earlier this year was that $4 million in paving might be too ambitious, and that crews might not be able to complete the full list of projects.
As we had projected, we would be downtown in September and here we are. We don’t have a specific timeframe for each street, because as soon as one is completed we move on to the next one. Wes Hicks
This week, Hicks said that $4 million is a realistic goal on average, but that weather will vary things from year to year.
“We’ll have a real good picture of this once the season is over and we sit down and analyze all the roads that we’ve completed and all the roads that we wanted to do but didn’t do,” he said.
Crews will also calculate what the approximate cost per metre has been in order to make sure the $4 million budgeted for roadwork is adequate to repave the city every 24 years.
“We’ll have a better understanding of -- is that budget large enough to sustain the road system in Prince Albert? Does it need to be massaged, maybe bumped, maybe the consumer price index needs to go up a little each year so you can get the same amount of roadway done,” he said.
This year, the city’s elected officials reconfigured city taxes, pulling all paving programs out, and doubling the paving budget, bringing it all into a $189 residential base tax and a varying commercial tax rate.
The downtown paving program makes up $1.5 million of this year’s paving program, and will include the following;
• First Avenue East from 15th Street to River Street.
• 12th Street from Third Avenue East to Second Avenue West.
• First Avenue West from Second Avenue to Third Avenue.
• 12th Street West from Second Avenue to Third Avenue.
• 13th Street West from Second Avenue to Fourth Avenue.
• 14th Street West from Second Avenue to Third Avenue.
• Third Avenue West from 15th Street to River Street.
After crews are done the downtown area they will move to Third Avenue East, from 20th Street to 22nd Street, and then to Branion Drive from 22nd Street East to Holmes Road as well as a stretch of Barsky Place.
Carryover work from previous years they hope to complete this year include work at Telfer Bay, Longpre Crescent and Gisi Road.