City hurries to finish road work before winter sets in

city workers put in pipes at the bottom of Lanfear Hill late last week, part of the roadway repairs the city has undertaken this year. - Lauren Benn
city workers put in pipes at the bottom of Lanfear Hill late last week, part of the roadway repairs the city has undertaken this year.
— image credit: Lauren Benn

THE CITY hopes it can complete one last road repair project before winter closes in.

Fixing up Frank St. level crossing just off Hwy16 heading west out of town is the last of five road projects slated for this year.

That’s scheduled to take place after work on Kenney leading to Lanfear Hill is completed. This work started last week by ripping up pavement, building bike lanes and paving sections of sidewalk.

Projects completed this year include Medeek Ave. near Braun Island, the south end of Pear St. and Haugland between Molitor and Eby.

The work became possible after the city increased its road maintenance budget from a normal $50,000 to $100,000 and then added another $170,000 to repave longer sections of roads.

Another $25,600 was sent by the provincial government for bike lanes on the Kenney Ave. approach to Lanfear Hill; the roads budget this year topped out at $295,600.

City road foreman Henry Craveiro said maintenance and paving prolong a road’s life by keeping the base underneath from becoming damaged.

“All asphalt has a lifespan,” said Craveiro. “Your road is only as good as your base.”

And what makes a road’s base good is its ability to keep water away from the pavement on top, said Craviero.

Terrace’s freeze and thaw cycles loosen up cracks in asphalt and then cars driving over top make those worse, he explained. A good road base is like gravel, so as water passes through cracks or comes up from underneath the gravel acts as a filter keeping water away from the asphalt and preventing cracks.

The five roads re-paved this year were determined to still have a good base, said Craviero, explaining that drainage was improved to temper water’s effect on the pavement.

But not all roads in Terrace are built on a good base, he continued. It used to be pavement was just added to whatever was underneath.

“As we get older, we learn more and we know better and we correct mistakes that were made in the past,” he said, explaining that to keep the next generation from inheriting bad roads, road maintenance is very important.

Still, the city’s road maintenance budget for the next few years is set to drop back down to the $50,000 mark.

City finance director Ron Bowles said next year the road budget is to be $150,000, dropping back to $50,000 in 2013. The reason this number is so low, he said, is because the city lost the major portion of its industrial tax base when Skeena Cellulose and Skeena Sawmills closed down.

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