Rain threatening to continue delaying road construction

Monday, August 1st, 2011 by Kolade Daniel

If the rain doesn’t stop soon, the city could be forced to delay road construction projects even further.
The city has seen rain 33 of the last 43 days, and it’s taking its toll on the city’s road construction projects.

Bob Boutilier, general manager of transportation services, said they always allow for weather contingencies, but work has been hampered by rain.
“We could not have anticipated the excessive rainfall we have experienced in June and July,” said Boutilier. “It is imperative that the work be done to the highest of standards from the very beginning.”

Several projects have been delayed, including the dreaded Scona Road / 99th Street overhaul.
It’s been put back by two weeks, but the city still expects to finish in November this year.
Lessard Road was slated to open July 15, but the city has pushed that back until late July, weather permitting.

Quality is very important, and impossible to do in poor weather, said Ryan Teplitsky, construction project manager with the City of Edmonton.

“Road construction is very dependent on good weather. There are so many aspects that can be affected,” he said. “To get a good quality product, you need to have good weather.”

Environment Canada said the rainy season typically tends to taper off once August rolls around.
The City of Edmonton and surrounding areas has been showered with 35 to 40 mm of rain in the last 14 days, said Cindy Yu with Environment Canada.

“It’s summer, and we do (tend to) get a lot of thunderstorms and showers. In July, Edmonton typically gets 91.7 mm worth of rain,” she said. “So it looks like we are on track to meet that.”

The most rain ever to fall in one day was back on July 31, 1953, when the city was hit with 114 mm in one day.
More rain is on the way for the city, with the weather office calling for rain four out of the next six days.
The heavy rainfall means big business for basement repair contractors in the city.

Glenn Suprovich with Basement Systems Edmonton said the phone has been ringing off the hook.
Suprovich said they’ve been getting 20 to 25 calls from residents experiencing seepage problems. That’s significantly more than the two to three calls he said they average on a normal day.

Suprovich said the staff is stressed, but they do enjoy all the business. There are things residents can do preemptively, he added.

“They can do a lot on their own. They can make sure their sump pump is working,” he said. “And also, make sure if there is seepage, that they get it fixed. They don’t have to wait until the city gets four days of rain.”

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Construction Delays

• Scona Road/99 Street – two weeks behind schedule, but still on track to be completed in November 2011.

• 23 Avenue/Gateway Boulevard Interchange – two weeks behind schedule, anticipated opening of all roads by mid-September 2011.

• 118 Avenue streetscaping – originally scheduled for completion in 2012, some work may have to be carried forward.

• Lessard Road – three weeks behind, opening date revised to Aug. 5.

• Neighbourhood renewal – all locations are two to three weeks behind schedule. Completion of those areas scheduled to be done in 2011 is dependent upon an extended dry spell.

• Quesnell Bridge/Whitemud Drive – two weeks behind, road and bridge work will be completed by end of August.

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