County of Wetaskiwin hears up to $500k damage from rain

Director of Public Works says roads in Div. 6, 7 take a beating

County of Wetaskiwin council heard that roads in the westernmost divisions may have suffered up to $500,000 damage from seemingly endless rain in July.

The report was given by Director of Public Works Neil Powell at the Aug. 13 Public Works council meeting.

“July was a very difficult month due to the many intensive rainstorms. Damage occurred throughout the County, but Division’s 6 and 7 were affected the most,” stated Powell in his report to council.

“Division 7 notably, suffered extensive damage to roadways, culverts and multiple bridge sites. On July 20, 2019, a very intensive rainstorm hit the Alder Flats area.”

Powell told councilors, “July was a very tough month for us.” He said the July 20 weekend was particularly bad.

“This storm did considerable damage by washing gravel from roads, washing out centerline culverts, and eroding roads and ditches. Rose Creek Road and BF 72784 suffered extensive damage with erosion along the roadway, drainage courses and Wolf Creek.

“It is difficult to design and/or maintain infrastructure for a storm such as the July 20 storm event. This storm may have been a 1:500-year event as it did dump in excess of 150 mm over a 12-hour period. It simply was too much water, too fast.

“Ditches and roadways with poor geometrics (i.e. low grade and shallow ditches) were the most affected. However, roads with decent grade elevation and ditch capacity were still overwhelmed. Some of the damage may have been avoided if the roads were in better geometric condition, but it is noted that new infrastructure such as Rose Creek Road, its culverts and ultimately the new bridge at Wolf Creek were severely damaged.

“The Rose Creek Road culverts and ditches had considerable capacity, but again, it was too severe of a storm for its design capacity. Since the July 20 rain event, County crews have been in emergency repair mode.

“Many calls came in regarding blocked or damaged culverts and roadways severely eroded. Emergency repairs were done all over the region with particular immediate attention paid to the Rose 2 Creek Road to save the pavement, but much remains to be done to get this site back to its pre-flood condition.

“PW directed several employees to drive all the roads in Divisions 6 and 7 and were instructed to map and describe the storm damage. This will help PW to identify what needs intermediary repair and highlight areas that can benefit from future upgrading. This may include mini shoulder pulls, brushing, ditching, centerline replacements, erosion control devices etc.

“Early mapping evidence indicates that there were over 100 road washouts. A washout is where the storm water eclipses the road top and washes over, depositing much of the gravel and road substrate in the opposite ditch and field.

Many sites are repeat offenders and will be targeted for upgrades this year and in upcoming years. It is estimated that the July storms may have caused damages nearing $500,000.

PW is tracking all emergency repairs using two special Job Codes set up for Division’s 6 and 7. It is hoped that the majority of the repairs can be done this summer and fall, weather permitting. The Rose Creek Road and Wolf Creek repair will be the costliest endeavor.

Admin will have a better understanding of the July storm damage near the end of August or September and will present the incurred and estimated repair costs to Council for any adjustments to the 2019 PW budget. Options to fund the storm damage may include PW emergency reserves or the Clearwater Reserve.

Councilors accepted the report for information.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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