Capital projects back on track

Matt Gardner
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Crews work on a paving project near the intersection of 15th Street and Seventh Avenue West on Friday afternoon. The city has been making steady progress on its capital projects over the last several weeks after delays caused by poor weather in the first part of the summer.

City capital projects appear back on schedule following delays earlier in the summer due to poor weather.

Acting public works director Wes Hicks said wet conditions were the main cause of the delay, while noting that contractors also had to wait for concrete replacements that only arrived this month.

“I would say most things are on the schedule as planned,” Hicks said. “I would say paving is a little behind, and I would also say our storm outflows are probably a little behind -- and both of those would be mostly weather-related.

“We had a lot of rain in June and July, and so you can’t really move forward.”

By contrast, progress on the various projects around town has been steady for the last several weeks, with many now complete.

They include crack sealing the new runaway at Prince Albert Airport, cleaning the Diefenbaker Bridge and a sewer photography program, waste water treatment plant upgrades and more than half of this season’s paving program, which covers 12.17 kilometres of roadways.

Hicks highlighted work on the sewage pumping stations as one of the most significant completed projects.

“That’s a very important part of the infrastructure of any community and city … I’d be very pleased with the way they’ve been coming,” Hicks said.

Of the four stations, No. 1 is complete and in operation and No. 2 is more than 85 per cent complete, while No. 3 and No. 6 are both under construction.

“They hope to have both of those done before the end of 2014,” Hicks said. “So it’s all really good news.”

Another important area of work has been repairs to the viaducts on Central Avenue and Sixth Avenue West, which are currently 46 per cent complete.

Crews initially concentrated on the underside of each structure, removing any parts of the concrete that were showing signs of stress and then patching and repairing them.

“It’s a very labour-intensive, time-consuming kind of work,” Hicks said. “That part of the work didn’t really impact the surface, so Central is mostly open during the summer. But now they’ve been working on the upper deck where they’ve been fixing the guardrail or handrail, as you’d call it -- all the ballisters and stuff.

I would say most things are on the schedule as planned. Wes Hicks

“They’re a little more intricate, because the viaduct was built with some architectural features and that takes a long time to form those … All of that will be lightly sandblasted so it matches and (is) field-coated, so it’s protected … They’re in that process right now.”

Among the projects scheduled for August were the rehabilitation of downtown sidewalks on the east side of First Avenue West.

Many projects still remain to be completed. The Rotary Trail will be the site of several maintenance projects including landscaping, the installation of missing ramps throughout the trail and infill of a missing trail on Central Avenue and on 1602 First Street East.

A concrete sidewalk program in areas where water mains are replaced also remains, as do hydrant flow testing and sewer flow monitoring in the city’s hydraulic system analysis.

A sewer and storm main replacement is partially complete, with three streets still left. Subdivision work will also be a major project going forward.

While Hicks noted that the city would like to see more watermain replacement, he nevertheless expressed confidence that Prince Albert would complete virtually all of its scheduled capital projects by the end of the season.

“There’ll be some streets that were on our paving program that we probably won’t get to, but we won’t drop them,” Hicks said. “They will be on our list for the following year.

He added, “I’d like to see the sidewalks and the roadway in -- that would be good, if we can get that done before snow flies.”

Organizations: Prince Albert Airport

Geographic location: Central Avenue

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