Over­land flood­ing dam­ages un­der re­pair in M.D. of Taber

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Alberta - BY COLE PARKIN­SON VAUX­HALL AD­VANCE

Since the late ar­rival of spring, the Mu­nic­i­pal District of Taber public works de­part­ment has been in­cred­i­bly busy with a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent projects.

The flood­ing in the spring pushed back much of their reg­u­lar sched­uled work but public works staff have been mak­ing the best of things and have been vig­i­lant in catch­ing up to where they need to be.

“We have made sig­nif­i­cant progress on a lot of stuff we are work­ing on cur­rently,” said Jeremy Wick­son, di­rec­tor of public works at the M.D’s reg­u­lar meet­ing on Au­gust 28.

The flood­ing caused hun­dreds of M.D. roads to close down but over the past few months, most of those road­ways are back up and run­ning. Two miles north of the Oldman River are the last re­main­ing clo­sures in the M.D. of Taber.

“We have two miles in M.D. bound­ary that still needs to be opened up but out­side of that, gravel road­ways are open for har­vest,” said Wick­son.

With the num­ber of roads closed due to the flood­ing, staff were able to re-open the ma­jor­ity of the roads by the time sum­mer came around. Lean­ing on past ex­pe­ri­ences with flood­ing and road clo­sures played a part in how quickly staff were able to get the roads opened back up to the public.

“We had the vast ma­jor­ity of our roads opened by the end of July ex­cept for that two miles. The con­tract was awarded end of June, be­gin­ning of July so we did make a sub­stan­tial re­cov­ery process. A lot of that is at­trib­uted to past road projects and past drainage in­fra­struc­ture that had been re­paired,” ex­plained Wick­son.

Cul­vert work re­mains to take up a bunch of public works’ time as well. The over­land flood­ing didn’t help things as some projects had to be pushed back in or­der to clear up the flood­ing con­cerns.

“We’re work­ing on ongoing cul­vert re­pairs through­out the area. We are go­ing to have a back­log of cul­vert projects for a few years, there is no way we can ac­com­plish all that we need to get done with all the re­ported sites and in­ven­tory ones we knew needed to be done as part of our long-term re­place­ment plan,” stated Wick­son. “The num­ber of cul­verts in the M.D. is huge.”

Even with the amount of cul­vert work ahead of the staff, Wick­son is con­fi­dent the work will be com­pleted in an ap­pro­pri­ate amount of time.

“We def­i­nitely have a lot of work to do within an as­set por­tion but it is man­age­able es­sen­tially for where we are at right now,” he said to coun­cil.

There were 465 sites with recorded dam­age, 58 dam­aged cul­verts, 78 new cul­vert installations and 424 roads dam­aged due to washouts and ero­sion, with all 424 roads com­pleted.

Dam­aged cul­vert work be­gan in May and is ex­pected to be com­plete some­time in Novem­ber as 38 out of 58 are com­pleted, ac­cord­ing to the public works re­port.

M.D. con­struc­tion crews are still busy with a few dif­fer­ent projects across the M.D. in­clud­ing the cam­pus site.

“As far as the main con­struc­tion crew, we’re fin­ish­ing up on the M.D. cam­pus site. Then we’re es­sen­tially look­ing to get into our road projects which we ini­tially planned on May or June to get started and now we’re get­ting to them in Septem­ber,” con­tin­ued Wick­son.

Con­struc­tion on three miles of Range Road 13-1 from High­way 3 to Town­ship Road 10-0 is ex­pected to start on Septem­ber 10 and be com­pleted some­time in Novem­ber.

Mean­while, projects at Range Road 19-0 from Town­ship Road 10-2 to 10-4 (two miles) and Range Road 16-0 from Town­ship Road 11-4 to 11-2 don’t have set start dates.

Flood­ing also had a ma­jor im­pact on the gravel crew as they didn’t be­gin their reg­u­lar work un­til May.

With the de­lay in start­ing, Wick­son says they will be run­ning as late into the sea­son as they can.

“We will go as long as pos­si­ble this year. We have six trucks rolling, at this point, we have com­pleted 190 of 400 miles. I ex­pect we’re prob­a­bly not go­ing to get our 400 miles this year but if we go late enough into the year, we very well could,” said Wick­son, who also ad­dressed Reeve Brian Brewin’s ques­tion as to why they were so far be­hind sched­ule. “We were pushed back. Gravel sched­ules were orig­i­nally slated for the mid­dle of March and we carry on through. This year, we didn’t start our reg­u­lar gravel sched­ule well into May just be­cause we were do­ing flood re­pairs.”

On the gravel sched­ule for 2018 is 105 miles south of M.D. gravel haul from Reti Pit, 55 miles south M.D. gravel haul from Owens Pit, 20 miles south M.D. gravel haul from Forks Pit, 60 miles north M.D. gravel haul from Snake Pit and 58 miles north M.D. gravel haul from Speaker Pit.

Wick­son also ex­plained that the 400 miles are just a rough es­ti­mate for each year.

“The miles are a tar­get and it varies year to year. I al­ways tar­get 400 miles, last year we hit 425, the year be­fore 440, year be­fore that we hit 400. Go­ing back to as far as 2010, we were only do­ing 300, 350 miles per year. We’ve scaled up our gravel pro­gram quite a bit and with the one-inch gravel we have been us­ing for the last few years, we’ve been hav­ing more re­ten­tion.”

The crusher crew was also slightly be­hind and Wick­son said that was due to a crusher lead op­er­a­tor re­tir­ing.

All 2018 cap­i­tal pur­chases have been com­pleted and Brewin asked to see an equip­ment sum­mary for their ma­chin­ery mov­ing for­ward.

The re­port was ac­cepted as in­for­ma­tion.

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