By Cole Parkinson
Hamlets within the Municipal District of Taber have seen their roads degrade down to the point where immediate repairs are needed.
Multiple roadways across the hamlets in the M.D. are in need of proper repairs and the issue was brought forward to council during their regular meeting on May 14.
“Because of the extreme frost this past season we have seen a large increase in the number of hard surface repairs that we need to do here this spring. Some of this is due to these roads coming to the end of their useful lives. Lots of these oil roads and stuff like that are not holding up to the traffic. The repairs on those are something we are usually able to estimate essentially roughly what our budget needs to be,” explained Jeremy Wickson, director of public works. “This spring being a little more extreme, those numbers have gone up exponentially and we have had a couple of large failures within the hamlets that are very high traffic. Craig (Pittman, director of infrastructure) went out and detailed the amount of repairs required to each of these locations. One thing with each of these is we would be doing rebasing work and then ACP. ACP work would be done by a contractor so we would have a good finish on those.”
Estimated costs of repairs are $117,045.71 and the current ‘oiling’ budget is not able to fund all the repairs needed.
“Some of our infrastructure wasn’t built, back in the day, to be capable of handling the loads they are seeing now. That is why we are seeing this,” added Wickson.
In terms of Enchant, there are three problem areas highlighted for council that were needing repairs.
The first is the Centre Street, south of Railway Avenue, the second is the intersection Butt Avenue, west of Centre Street and the third is Centre Street in front of Enchant School near the bus loop exit.
Grassy Lake has one repair which is 3rd Street near the bus loop at Chamberlain School while Hays has two repairs, one on 3rd Street, east of Central Avenue and one on Central Avenue, north of Park Drive East.
Administration estimated costs of $30,662 from the operational budget if they used their own forces to complete all work with the exception of paving which results in an estimated outstanding expenditure of $86,383.71.
Good news comes in the form of lower costs when it comes to roadway line painting as administration has it coming way under budget which leaves $72,762.30 still available.
If council decided to re-allocate funds, a shortfall for repairs is estimated at $13,621.41.
“We budgeted $125,000 for the line painting budget this year based on previous numbers we had. The previous time that we line painted we did (Highway) 513 it was almost $80,000 to $90,000 so we estimated $125,000 should be the amount,” said Wickson.
Council inquired about the possibility of designating roadways as restricted.
“Lots of these roadways and even with some of the development we’ve had through some of these, it was never built as a truck corridor per se,” said Wickson.
Another major factor for these spots that have seen large amounts of damage is due to their locations.
“One thing to note on this as you look through the areas, these are areas where there is a lot of turning as well as stopping and starting,” said CAO Derrick Krizsan.
In finding a long-term solution, Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga stated she realizes the challenges they face in regard to roads.
“We have many roads that are going to be an issue,” she said. “Do we need to do a better long-term plan of what’s the truck route, where is the turning access, what is the weight access? There is a reason why municipalities put in truck routes because then can keep every road at a standard.”
The M.D. had already placed a safeguard for larger trucks entering the hamlets in the form of easily accessible truck parking.
“That is one of the big reasons we’ve built truck parking lots near hamlets so there would be an ability for trucks to stay off these light oil roads,” replied Krizsan.
Council did express the need to address the repairs in a timely matter.
“We shouldn’t be putting on a band-aid, we should be preparing to fix it and fix it right,” stated Coun. Jen Crowson.
A motion was made to allocate funds to repair roadway failures within the Hamlets of Hays, Grassy Lake and Enchant. Councillors John Turcato, Brian Brewin and Leavitt Howg were absent.