A plan is in place for dealing with Woodlands County roadways

·4 min read

Woodlands County Council discussed Asset Management for roads within the municipality during their Regular Meeting of Council on November 10. Director of Infrastructure Andre Bachand explained that a previous “Request for Proposals” was sent out seeking engineering services to conduct a road assessment. Council had awarded that to McElhanney. Now, the results from that assessment were in and ready to look at.

Part of the package provided included a map of the roads assessed along with a chart showing each road, the specific segment, the boundaries of it, length assessed, rehab schedule anticipated and the estimated cost of doing the work. “The assessments were done by visual inspection, taking cores of the asphalt roads, and the Falling Weight Deflectometer test,” explained Bachand. “They put all that together and came up with the assessments and the estimates on repairs. They also provided a preliminary plan or schedule on resurfacing some of the roads.”

Bachand reminded Council to keep in mind that the assessment is a “snapshot” of the roads this year and that things will change. “Every year, they are going to deteriorate some more. If you were to look at the Old Ferry Loop, it’s identifying a rehabilitation cost of $30,000, but in fourteen years, that number is going to grow quite a bit.” He said that the assessment would help Woodlands County build budgets through the years and that it will form a component of the Asset Management Plan they have in place.

Councillor Alan Deane asked for clarification on what a Falling Weight Deflectometer test was. “There’s a plate that goes on the road, and there’s a weight that’s roughly four feet off the ground, and it’s guided down to that plate. They trigger it, it falls, and it takes readings on the flexion within the area. There are electronics built into the plate. It gives readings on the amount of flexion in the road and helps determine the residual strength of the road itself. It’s essentially simulating a heavy load.”

Councillor Jeremy Wilhelm asked if the rehab schedule estimated the time it would take to repair the road or if it was showing the time period needed to save up funds to fix it. “That rehab schedule is when those asphalt roads need to be resurfaced or have rehabilitation done. Horse Creek Road, being our oldest paved road carrying the heaviest loads, they are saying 1-2 years (for rehabilitation to take place),” explained Bachand. He said the assessment was strictly showing the rehab needed for the roads and an approximate timeline for the work to take place by.

Councillor Bruce Prestidge felt the report was excellent. “It will add to our Asset Management, and this is what we’ve been missing for years here. I would just like to thank you for getting this done.” Councillor Peter Kuelken asked if the schedule would reset after work was completed. “Horse Creek Road has been paved for 20 some years, so, when you spend that 2.1 million to rehabilitate that, would there be another assessment done to what the life of that would be now? And would that be in the Asset Management Strategy?”

Bachand said yes. In speaking to Horse Creek Road, which was paved in 1995 and is the first road identified on the list as needing work, Bachand used West Mountain Road to describe what would happen upon completing work in the rehab schedule. “This year, we rehabilitated 1.8 kilometres of West Mountain Road. When that is rehabilitated, it essentially goes into Asset Management and refreshes that section so that the life expectancy is extended from one year back to 25 years.”

Mayor Burrows echoed Councillor Prestidge’s comments on the report. “This is the type of information that we’ve been needing.” He then asked if the report would be added to the Asset Management Plan without Council making a motion. “Administratively, this is a tool that we put into Asset Management, so all the information that we gather on roads goes into that program automatically,” said Bachand.

CAO Gordon Frank reiterated that. “Once Council sees the 20-Year Capital Plan, this information will be incorporated into that.” Councillor Prestidge made a motion to accept the report as information which passed unanimously.

The roads included in the assessment report, in the order of their position in the proposed rehab schedule (earliest to latest), are Horse Creek Road 8A and 8B, West Mountain Road 6B, East Mountain Road 2A and 2B, OBH Road 1A, East Mountain Road 2C, Cut Across (segment 4), Tower Road (segment 3), OBH Road 1B, Hard Luck Road (segment 5), and Old Ferry Loop 7A, 7C and 7B. The assessor observed that Horse Creek Road, both 8A and 8B, had extensive longitudinal cracks and fatigue cracks at all-wheel paths. The estimated cost to repair those two sections is just shy of four million.

Serena Lapointe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press

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