Viaduct repairs approved for the spring

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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The Central Avenue viaduct is seen, having endured some hardship in its 76 years. 

Approving a $1.86 million expense, city council cleared the way for Central Avenue and Sixth Avenue East viaduct (bridge) repairs to take place in the spring. 

Approving a $1.86 million expense, city council cleared the way for Central Avenue and Sixth Avenue East viaduct (bridge) repairs to take place in the spring.

“It’s kind of gotten to a point in a lot of places, including here, where things are coming up due,” public works director Colin Innes said after Monday’s city council meeting.

“Unfortunately, it’s a very costly thing, but if you look at the cost to replace that structure or even demolish it -- those are astronomical numbers.”

In a report by the city manager of capital projects Wes Hicks, it’s estimated that these repairs will extend both viaducts’ lives by about 30 years.

Had council decided to not approve repair work, the Central Avenue viaduct might have been forced to close within 18 years, as per a prediction made by Stantec consultants.

“It’s a piece of infrastructure in our city that we cannot, again, continue to overlook,” Coun. Martin Ring said at Monday’s meeting. “It’s something that’s needed. If we don’t have a viaduct we’re running out of ways to go up the hill.

“Unfortunately, it’s the cost of doing business and to get the road repairs done, but it is a very vital piece of the centre of our city infrastructure.”

Built in 1938, the Central Avenue viaduct last saw major repairs in 1992.

The Sixth Avenue East viaduct was built in 1976 and last saw major repairs in 1987.

It’s a piece of infrastructure in our city that we cannot, again, continue to overlook Martin Ring

Allan Construction of Saskatoon saw their tender of $1.69 million approved by council. The balance of the $1.86 million budget will be filled out by related work, such as engineering, design and inspection.

Repairs to the Central Avenue viaduct have been long talked about.

In 2007, the viaduct received minor concrete work after what manager of capital projects Scott Golding described at the time as “a small piece of concrete … dislodged from the outside surface of the viaduct’s ornamental decking and tumbled to the ground below.”

Central Avenue viaduct repairs have been budgeted since 2012, with $140,000 carried over from 2012.

The Sixth Avenue viaduct joined budget discussions in 2013, with council approving $275,000 in funding. That year, council pledged an additional $680,000 toward the Central Avenue viaduct.

In 2014, the city’s elected officials are pledging $393,000 toward the Central Avenue viaduct. The 2015 budget will see another $373,000 go toward the Central and Sixth Avenue viaducts.

This brings the total expenditure to $1.86 million, spread between 2012 and 2015 -- an expense covered by the city’s infrastructure reserve, which taxpayers fund to the tune of $620,000 per year.

Organizations: Allan Construction

Geographic location: Central Avenue, Sixth Avenue East, Saskatoon

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