Public works projects lacking dollars

Lisa Goudy
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Duane Grado, public works manager, speaks about the capital budget requests at the Jan. 20, 2014 budget committee meeting.

Proposed budget for infrastructure at unsustainable level

Almost all public works, water mains and storm sewer projects have a proposed budget that is not sustainable.

According to the proposed 2014-2018 capital budget, there are 214 kilometers (km) of paved roads in the city, 71 km are arterial and collectors and 143 km are residential.

“We have an existing computerized system that tracks all this but it is becoming redundant,” said Duane Grado, public works manager. “We’ll be recommending in 2015 that we get a new computerized system for that.”

The proposed budget for arterial /collector pavement rehabilitation is $755,000, which Grado said would do 20 blocks of rehabilitation.

The city’s total inventory of arterial /collector streets is valued at $26.27 million and, with a lifespan of 20 years a sustainable amount of funding would be $1.31 million per year, Grado said. There is carry forward funding of $40,000 from 2013.

Arterial streets are “typically roadways which provide main access throughout the City with high volumes of traffic,” said an engineering department report, and cited examples such as Thatcher Drive, Main Street, High Street and Ninth Avenue.

It said collector streets are “typically roadways that link residential streets to arterial roadways for daily traffic access” and cited examples such as Coteau Street, Wood Lily Drive, Athabasca Street and Fourth Avenue Northeast.

Regarding residential streets, the proposed budget for 2014 is $479,000 — enough to do 18 blocks.

“It costs less for residential as compared to collector/arterials,” said Grado. “In 2015, we will be recognizing and utilizing a local improvement program we’re going to recommend so that we can do more.”

The report said considering a 50/50 cost-shared program for residential pavement rehabilitation could “result in a significant increase in the number of roadway projects completed annually.” It would place “responsibility for funding partially on the property owners that will benefit from the work,” it said.

At the next budget committee meeting, budget will consider a report with more information on the program for consideration of approval.

While the proposed budget is $479,000, the total inventory is $55.35 million and would require a budget of $2.77 million per year to be sustainable.

As for sidewalk slab replacement, which Grado said “replaces individual slabs in the city,” the proposed budget is $38,000 that will replace 80 slabs.

“That does sound small and it is small, but it just replaces, for lack of words, the unsafe slabs within the city,” he said.

The total inventory is approximately $67 million. With a 75-year life expectancy, adequate funding would be $893,000 per year. There is no carry over.

The sidewalk rehabilitation program for “full or partial blocks in the city,” accounts for 1,260 average blocks in the city, Grado said.

The proposed budget is funding of $328,000 for 700 meters of replacement. A sustainable budget would be $893,000 per year.

There will also be an estimated $30,000 in carry over funding from 2013 to the 2014-2018 capital budget.

Further, Grado said the proposed budget for storm sewer replacements is $190,000 that will upgrade one-a-half blocks in the Third Avenue and Home Street area in 2014. There are 71 km of storm sewer in the city with a total inventory of $33.76 million. That means a sustainable level of funding would be $338,000 per year.

“This project provides for new storm sewer in areas within the city that at present have no storm sewer and it also replaces and upgrades deteriorated storm sewers in existing areas,” said Grado.

The water main replacement program deals with the 274 km of water mains in the city. The proposed budget of $500,000 will do three blocks. The total inventory is $240.29 million. A sustainable budget would be $918,000 per year.

There is also a carry-over of $300,000 from 2013.

“That will help us get done some of the blocks in 2014 that are longer than the average blocks,” said Grado, adding it costs about $1,000 per meter.

Further deliberations on the capital budget will be at Monday’s meeting.

Folliw Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Geographic location: High Street, Ninth Avenue, Coteau Street Athabasca Street Third Avenue Home Street

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