One thing I know for sure is people love new things, and with that being said the path to get those new things can often be frustrating and requires patience and some planning.
This is the case during this year’s construction season. In the 2016 fiscal year, we will do almost $12 million dollars’ worth of road construction, and I would guess the amount of work being completed is the most Slave Lake has ever done in one construction season.
Approximately 90% of this funding came from Disaster Relief and is recovery money, which has to be spent before the years’ end. This means that crews, and administration are pushing aggressively to get the work done by end of this year.
After the fire in 2011 we received $30 million dollars in recovery funding that was to be used towards underground infrastructure, roads and sidewalks in the recovery areas. We allowed for the properties to be constructed first to help speed up the rebuild. With properties being built we were given time to assess the damage, work with local utility companies and engineers to determine the best approach to construction. It also gave us time to lobby the provincial government to pay for it. This was not something that came suddenly but instead took us months of meetings to get.
I have to add that we are not just fixing roads and sidewalks but replacing water lines, sewer lines, and storm sewers as well.
In some areas, that we have been working in, we have increased capacity for future growth. In other areas once we started digging we found complications to the project and added cost. A prime example is on 2 Ave NW, an old metal tank was found which had to be removed before continuing. The area had to be tested, contaminated soil removed, negotiate with landowners, and eventually fill that hole back in.
Ideally we expect that once this road is repaired, it will last for 25 years or more. So we are spending a lot of time compacting the base which will make sure we don’t have to deal with road movement, cracking and heaving in the future.
We are building on soft lake bottom so no system is perfect but it recognizes attention to detail is important. In the coming weeks, more roads will be torn up, more underground done, more intersections blocked off and by the end of July it will feel a little bit like a labyrinth of detours I am sure.
In the end we are only trying to make things better and we recognize this is can be inconvenience at times. We have endured it over the last three years and this year will no doubt be the toughest. In fact, unless it starts raining money in years to come it will probably be the most expensive and most amount of road work we will do in Slave Lake while I’m alive. I would encourage people to be patient, leave a little earlier and budget enough time as there will be delays. There will be a lot of workers milling about, people not paying attention and curious children probably too close for comfort. So keep your eyes open, drive slow, breathe deep. Its going to be long and difficult construction season so save your energy. We thank you in advance for your understanding during this extremely busy time.