By Dave S. Clark
Mayor Stephen Mandel said today work on the Quesnel Bridge, Scona Road and 99 Street and the 23 Avenue interchange will all be completed by the end of the construction season.
Mandel also said he has been told by the province that the Anthony Henday overpasses at Yellowhead Trail on the city’s west end will also be completed by the end of the construction season.
Neither Mandel nor Bob Boutilier, general manager of the city’s transportation department, would give any exact timelines, since the completion of the projects very much depends on the weather. If the weather is favourable, 23 Avenue and Quesnel Bridge should be done in September and Scona Road completed in November.
Boutilier said the unusually high amount of rainfall this season caused challenges with the 135 road construction projects underway.
“What was the major issue? Well in June we had 21 days of rain. In July we had 14 days of rain, which meant about 50 per cent more rainwater got into the ground,” he said, noting that even after it rains and the surface of the ground appears dry, it needs to be dry much deeper down for paving work to be completed. However, projects were able to stay on track as much as possible because when it rained, crews changed their schedules to work on things that could be completed in the wet.
Boutilier also said not all the work that was scheduled to be completed this year will be finished. The Fort Road expansion is still on track to completed by the end of next year’s construction season, but some of the work targeted for this year will have to wait until next year. Completion of construction at Lessard Road and 199 Street will also be bumped to next year.
Mandel said he is glad the city decided to close Scona Road for the season and complete construction in that time frame, rather than doing partial road closures over a three-year span, which was also considered. He also said that he is happy work on the Quesnel Bridge is wrapping up, and that it has been frustrating that it has taken so long.
Mandel said he is proud of the work the city and contractors have been able to accomplish so far.
“In 2011, Edmonton will be paving the equivalent of double all of the roads in Leduc. In this year, which is not a record year, we’ll pave over 300 km of roads,” he said.