It has been a very long winter but spring is coming with warmer days and all the good cheer of spring.
With the warmer weather also come construction projects, upgrading our crumbling roads. The city is placing more emphasis on roads this year. An additional $7.2 million in the Regional and Local Street programs will allow for more streets to be repaired or upgraded in 2014.
Street renewals are evaluated by engineers in Public Works departments based on the condition of the street. There are two types of programs that either completely replace streets in poor condition or another program which upgrades existing streets that are in fair to poor condition, with a goal to extending the current life of the street. Upgrading some streets with blacktop asphalt can stretch the lifespan of the road system and allow us to stretch our infrastructure dollars further.
Improving local and regional streets has been and always will be a top priority for me, so I’m excited to be able to announce some of the projects we have to look forward to in 2014. In terms of regional streets, Ness Avenue will get a $3.15 million upgrade from Whytewold Road to west of Conway Street in 2014. There are also five residential streets being renewed in the St. James ward. These streets are: Aldine from Bruce Avenue to Lodge, Thompson Drive from Portage Avenue to Lodge Avenue, Oakdean Crescent, from 138 Oakdean to Assiniboine Avenue, Armour Crescent, and finally the entrance of Assiniboine Crescent off Portage Avenue following south 110 metres.
Polo Park will also see an additional $40-million upgrade to the road and traffic network along St. James Street. Work will happen throughout the next two seasons, which will allow for a better traffic flow for the long term in this important retail region. This project will address some of the key issues for improvements such as intersections, traffic flow and congestion, active transportation, area aesthetics, and accessibility. We do recognize that many businesses and people living and working in the surrounding area will be affected by the project over the next two seasons, but the work needs to happen for the long-term viability of traffic congestion in the area. An open house was hosted in late November 2013 to explain the project to residents and business and to listen and address any concerns with the project.
There are many other important road works projects going on this summer and it is my hope that the city will focus on priority one of fixing our existing infrastructure first.