Roads ripped up in seasonal repairs

Roadwork contractors busy on five projects in Cranbrook this summer.

Repaving of 14th Avenue South is one of five roadworks projects in Cranbrook this summer.

Road crews are busy ridding Cranbrook of a few potholes as roadworks season carries on.

Five major projects are underway around the city as road repairs are performed, ranging from repaving to complete reconstruction.

Work is substantially complete on two of those projects, which make up the city’s Priority 1 list for the 2012 season.

The section of 1st Street South between 9th Avenue and 11th Avenue has been repaved after improvements were made to the storm sewer.

“They put a glass grid between the two layers of asphalt,” said Chris Zettel, corporate communications officer for the City of Cranbrook. “They are hoping that will help increase the longevity of the paving. It might add a few years to the integrity of the asphalt.”

The sidewalk on 1st Street South from 11th Avenue to 14th Avenue was also replaced during this project.

Also essentially complete is the repaving of 21st Avenue North between 12th Street North and Kootenay Street North, behind Canadian Tire.

“Drivers will likely notice there is some missing asphalt on 12th Street North,” said Zettel. “They are going to do some repaving work there and there will be some storm sewer work in there done in relatively short order.”

With that work done, contractors are now focusing on three significant projects around Cranbrook, which won’t be complete until October 31.

The most noticeable one, at least for residents of the Southview area, is the section of 14th Avenue South from 10th Street South to 13th Street South. It’s the continuation of work on 14th Avenue that was completed up to 10th Street over the past several years.

The work includes storm sewer improvements, curb and gutter, a multi-use path and repaving. What’s more, the city is using a new system called “bioswale” to redirect rain water that runs down the slope.

“In the past, when there has been a lot of rainfall, 14th Avenue has worked as a conduit. There has been a lot of running water coming down there,” explained Zettel. “What this ‘bioswale’ is intended to do is create little storage ponds all the way down to slow the water down a little bit. There is going to be grasses and some shrubbery in there, and a honeycomb style catch basin to slow the water down so it can get taken away without running down the street and causing issues.”

Over on 2A Street South between 17th Avenue South and 20th Avenue South, near Laurie Middle School, the road is being completely reconstructed.

“That’s everything from your water line, sanitary sewer line, storm sewer, paving, the whole nine yards,” said Zettel.

Finally, by Gordon Terrace Elementary, 4th Avenue South from 12th Street South to Larch Drive is getting some serious TLC.

“That one is going through the full road reconstruction as well, just like 2A Street,” said Zettel.

“Once the engineering team got in there and did some camera work, it seems the road bed there was essentially non existent. The sewer and storm lines were seriously depleted. It really needed to be done.”

There was a sixth project on the Priority 1 list this year: two blocks of the major east-west artery 2nd Street South, starting at the highway. However, the scope of the five other projects was more significant that the city expected, so 2nd Street South will have to wait till next year, Zettel explained.

“Overall, the work has been going really well. Residents in general have been really cooperative and supportive and understanding of the delays,” he said. “We certainly appreciate them being cooperative and supportive. The end result is they are going to have a nice street to drive on when we are done.”

The city budgeted $2.8 million on roadworks this summer. When the list was approved in April, Mayor Wayne Stetski said council would like to spend more, but it’s just too expensive.

He added that the city’s road asset deficit – what the city would need to spend to ensure that all city streets are up to standard – is $19 million. Every $200,000 the city adds to its budget translates to a 1 per cent increase in taxes.

“I’ll leave it to you to figure out what kind of tax increase would be required to cover just the road deficit. There are deficits in sewer and water as well. It is a long term challenge for council and for taxpayers,” said Stetski.