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DebraW
17-04-2007, 07:33 AM
Peeved over pavement

Tue, April 17, 2007
By KERRY DIOTTE, Edmonton Sun

City council and civic administration have a novel policy regarding Edmonton’s horrendously bad streets.

It’s the Ostrich Approach – stick your head in the sand and pretend all bad things don’t exist.

There’s plenty of evidence they’re taking this tack on our pothole-pocked roads.

Last week, it was revealed the city wanted to have a particularly bad stretch of the Whitemud between 149 Street and 170 Street resurfaced this year; but now it won’t.

The reason: The city didn’t get a single tender for the job.

It’ll now likely be redone in 2009 at the same time as the planned widening of the Quesnell Bridge.

The message to the motorist: Tough luck, suckers.

While citizens are screaming for solutions, council members and administrators don’t seem to have an official plan to deal with this horrible lapse in a core service.

In a recent column, I asked council members what they intended to do to address the horrific condition of our streets.

I said I was writing to them as a constituent. The silence was deafening. Not one member of city council bothered to drop a note, call or fire off an e-mail.

I’m one of thousands of taxpayers who’s big-time peeved that there’s no action plan to fix our embarrassing streets. Meanwhile, citizens continue to flood the city’s hotline (496-1700) to report road craters.

There were 1,834 pothole complaints this March – five times as many as March 2006.

There are nearly twice as many complaints so far this month (929) compared to all of April 2006 (584).

(Call that hotline number every time you see a bad pothole. Citizen pressure is the only way to get council to wake up.)

We as a city spend only $3.4 million a year filling potholes and roughly $20 million in total to repair streets.

Pothole crews are working long hours and getting burned out trying to do a Band-Aid solution.

The city’s own director of roadway maintenance estimates it would take about $57 million annually just to fix arterial roads.

My recent column did, however, get a fair bit of feedback from readers, including Gary Krutzfeldt who was involved in the construction industry for 10 years and has some theories on how the streets problem should be attacked.

He raises some valid concerns that, perhaps, the city just isn’t building roads that are up to the kind of engineering standards his private firm met in the 1970s and 1980s.

“I know the standards that we were held to and we had engineers on us all the time,” said Krutzfeldt.

He feels the city might be allowing too many cracks in newer pavement.

“Yes, the freeze-thaw cycle does create some breaking down of the asphalt structure. However, freeze-thaw conditions are only exacerbated by cracks and open-surface areas on the asphalt mat itself.”

These are the kinds of questions that should be being raised by our politicians. Whatever system we’re using to build and repair roads is not working. Not at all.

Maybe it’s time to bring in a few outside experts.

Krutzfeldt’s concerns about roads are echoed by a lot of readers who e-mail me about our sorry streets.

“They’re talking about a vision to spend $600 million on a Ribbon of Green river valley plan and $88 million on an art gallery,” says Krutzfeldt.

“Hey, I love the river valley too, but we need money spent on core services like our streets.”

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Barry N
17-04-2007, 08:35 AM
Am, I missing something here ? I was under the impression that main arterial roadways were at the top of the list for pothole repairs. Over the past 2 months I have filled out the on-line form 3 times, about the same potholes on Mayfield Road,and yet as of today, April 17 they still remain in bloom. Is Mayfield Road not a main arterial ? The same story for Eastbound 100 Ave,between 178 street and 170 St. This is the main entrance to the city from the West. Is 100 Ave not a main arterial ?

LindseyT
17-04-2007, 08:45 AM
He raises some valid concerns that, perhaps, the city just isn’t building roads that are up to the kind of engineering standards his private firm met in the 1970s and 1980s.

So is just about every contractor in any business.