Price tag hikes for 2nd Avenue upgrades in Dead Man's Flats

The price tag to spruce up a main drag in Dead Man’s Flats just became a little heftier.

A plan for improvements to the hamlet’s 2nd Ave. has gone from an estimated cost of $2.5 million to $3.5 million.

“That’s a significant jump,” noted MD of Bighorn Coun. Rick Tuza.

A report from Calgary-based consultant CIMA+ highlights updated pricing for the upgrades, which include the addition of a new south-side shared-use pathway, extension of the north-side sidewalk, crosswalk installations, parking laybys, trees and streetlights, potential for future on-street bike lanes, and stormwater enhancements.

The MD’s director of infrastructure services, Bill Luka, pointed out that stormwater drainage such as culvert and ditching improvements makes up the bulk of the increase, accounting for about another $461,000 of the total bill.

“There’s definitely additional costs to accommodate stormwater, which has to be accommodated when we start filling in ditches and that will trigger the construction of a pond,” said Luka.

The CIMA+ report notes the previously completed Dead Man’s Flats stormwater master plan indicated the need for construction of a stormwater pond with an outfall to the Bow River.

“Urbanization of 2nd Ave. will eventually trigger the need for construction of this pond as the existing ditches are removed. A series of catch basins spaced at 150-metre intervals and storm lines will be required to convey water along 2nd Avenue to the storm pond,” it states.

A future stormwater pond would likely be situated near the west end of 2nd Ave. with construction estimated at $400,000.

Vicki Moses, the MD’s new infrastructure services manager, said the modernization of 2nd Ave. also now includes the addition of trees and widening the proposed south side pathway.

“The other two major components of that price increase were trees being added in and then the pathway being widened from 2.5 metres to three metres,” she said.

Much of the overall increase in cost, however, can be attributed to inflation. The original estimate for proposed improvements was prepared in January 2023 and has been updated for April 2024.

The cost for streetlighting and landscaping improvements went from $197,272 to $356,670, while the overall cost for roadworks went from $655,199 to $757,689.

The MD has not yet proposed a funding model for the improvements but will be working with developers to include construction portions of the work with future redevelopment.

“With the exception of the portion of sidewalk being constructed as part of the Sparrowhawk development, the sidewalk/trail on the north side of 2nd Ave. would likely be funded through general taxation and provincial grants if available,” states a staff report.

“Developers would be required to construct the improvements, in whole or part, as they re-develop; or as part of an off-site levy or developer contribution.”

MD of Bighorn CAO Shaina Tutt said when the municipal district reaches the point of seeking funding for the project, it will also look to its grant coordinators to assist in finding funding to alleviate costs.

Construction of proposed improvements would be phased over several years. The first phase, as proposed, involves extending the north sidewalk, with parking layby areas between River’s Bend Gate and the Pigeon Creek condos, as well as installing crosswalks.

The MD budgeted $520,000 for 2nd Ave. improvements in 2023 and added another $100,000 to its budget in 2024, with future funding expected to be spread across 2025-28.

Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Rocky Mountain Outlook