I’ve heard from many Edmontonians that the condition of our roads is a top priority for them, which means it is for Council too. We’re following up on what we’ve heard by investing in improving our road infrastructure.
This year, the City is investing $404 million in more than 125 arterial road, bridge, interchange and neighbourhood road projects across Edmonton. In total, the City expects to pave more than 179 km of roadway. City Council also allocated an extra $27 million to address additional arterial roadway and neighbouring roads in 2014 and 2015.
Improving our city’s roads also means repairing the large number of potholes that emerge due to the numerous freeze/thaw cycles we experience each winter. Last year was a record-setting year for potholes, with city crews filling more than 750,000 potholes through the spring and summer – well above the average of 450,000. In response, Council invested an additional $21 million towards road triage work, which allowed city crews to look for long-term solutions because really, potholes are a symptom of a more serious problem.
We’re also working to address the challenges of maintaining our roads through our Engineering Services Quality Assurance Laboratory, where city engineers research the materials and processes the City uses in roadway construction and maintenance. As part of the research, construction service engineers take a variety of asphalt mixtures, subject them to rigorous simulations involving traffic volumes, weight and temperature, and find out what combinations will work best in specific locations.
As with most things, there is always a trade-off, and construction on our roads means traffic closures and detours. To help make the commute to and from work easier, drivers can find road project locations to see where construction will be happening, and familiarize themselves with closures and detours.
I know there’s no easy fix for our roads and potholes will always be a challenge in our city due to our cold winter climate, but I am confident that the steps we’ve taken to improve the condition of our roads and reduce the number of potholes will make a difference – and I know Council is dedicated to giving our roads the attention they need.