For the first time since 2005 the City of Wetaskiwin will be implementing a local improvement policy, with a priority of addressing degrading road infrastructure in the city.
The policy was approved during council’s Jan. 8 meeting.
Sue Howard, director of engineering and development with the City of Wetaskiwin, says since the elimination of the local improvement levy approximately 50 per cent of the roads in the city have been negatively impacted. “We’re probably looking at 50 per cent of the roads in our city are significantly deteriorating.”
Engineering and development department manager Lisa Novotny agrees infrastructure in the City of Wetaskiwin requires considerable improvements.
She added the local improvement policy will allow the city to address emergent issues and funding gaps that affect roadway infrastructure.
The policy will not include utilities, as the city’s utility reserves are used to fund upgrades or replacements to water, sanitary and storm lines.
Howard informed councilors road rating reports compiled from public complaints and the public works department has given city administration a full picture of the situation.
The city has been using an overlay program to help extend the projected 25-year life spans of roadways to 40 years.
Geotechnical testing has determined roads previously identified as being suitable for asphalt overlays will require full reconstruction in order to protect the city’s investment.
City council has committed other funds through the infrastructure surcharge, however, this does not provide the full amount of funding needed to cover the infrastructure upgrades.
The city’s local improvement policy will not only address city roadways. It will also help provide funds for the replacement of sidewalks, curbs, and gutters.
Additionally, the policy will allow funds from the infrastructure surcharge to be used for issues on highways or collectors, or as the city’s portion of the local improvement levy if grant funds are not available.
This policy also allows property owners to have lane paving, median cuts and decorative lighting added to their neighbourhoods, with the cost being funded by property owners.