County of Wetaskiwin receives $3.7 million in infrastructure funding

Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program awards four County of Wetaskiwin projects

After submitting six applications to the province’s Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP) Local Municipal Initiative component the County of Wetaskiwin has received confirmation of four accepted projects.

The four projects approved for the program are: paving 1.5 km of Township Road 470 from Secondary Highway 771 to the county’s provincial park access, upgrades to 3.2 km of Township Road 460 (Rose Creek Road), as well as approved funding for two damaged bridges.

The total estimated project cost submitted for paving Township Road 470 was $482,700. Under the STIP program the County of Wetaskiwin will receive a grant for 75 per cent of the total estimated project cost, to a maximum of $$362,025.

In 2013 the County of Wetaskiwin and the summer villages of Crystal Springs, Grandview, Poplar Bay and Norris Beach entered into an intermunicipal development plan (IDP) agreement.

Township Road 470, from Secondary Highway 771 to the provincial park access, provides a major access to the Summer Village of Poplar Bay.

As part of the IDP, parties have agreed to cost-share maintaining Provincial Park Road (among other roads listed in the agreement).

During county council’s June 6 meeting, councillors agreed to advise the Summer Village of Poplar Bay of the 75 per cent grant and request the summer village provide approval of the project within a 60-day time frame, as well as commit to its contribution of $60,338 for the pavement overlay.

Director of public works Neil Powell says paving the road will provide increased services to residents of the county as well as visitors to the provincial park. “We do recommend that we do this project in 2017.”

A third motion approved by councillors was to immediately engage the county’s engineer for the design and tender of the project in 2017.

Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers says because of the county and summer villages IDPs there are funds available for the portion of the project not covered by the grant. She does not see the local municipality’s portion being “controversial.” The total estimated project cost for upgrading Township 460 was submitted as $1.7 million. A grant of 50 per cent of the project cost, or up to $862,500, was awarded to the county. Powell informed council the program would not approve paving for the road. The project will consist of a granular base course and a double aggregate seal coat. The rehabilitated surface will have an expected performance span of 20 years.

The new pavement will upgrade the ride quality of the road and reduce demands on road maintenance, especially patching and crack filling.

“We’re going to prep the road for future paving,” said Powell.

The county’s contribution of $62,500 can be drawn for a number of sources; including reserves and other grant sources, such as the Federal Gas Tax Fund and Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) Funding.

For the two county bridges needing replacing, the STIP Local Road Bridge program will provide up to a total of $1.6 million for bridge file BF78835, located at SE 4-47-7-W5M, and up to a total of $855,750 for bridge file BF6769, located at SW 3-47-3-W5M.

Bridge 78835, carrying Township Road 470 over Washout Creek, was significantly damaged in a summer storm last year.

“That project we’re expecting to be about $2 million,” said Powell. The STIP program would provide 75 per cent of the funds.

Powell says he would like the county to proceed with the project this year. County council approved the detailed design of the project, with expected completion in 2018.

Bridge 6769 carries Township Road 470 over tributary to Modeste Creek. The two culverts in place are facing multiple condition issues.

Powell says the bridge project is not ready to move forward in 2017. Council received the notice of grant funding for the project as information.

In total, the county has been awarded $3.7 million in funding the four projects, which equals 10 per cent of the program’s available funds.

CAO Frank Coutney says a large factor in deciding which applications are selected for funding is the quality of the submission. “I have to thank our administration.”

“It’s unbelievable we got 10 per cent of the funding … Kudos to our staff,” said Coun. Terry Van de Kraats.