The ‘pulvimixer’ lane solution


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One of the ongoing challenges of serving as city councillor of St. Vital is working to improve the state of the many gravel lanes in the northern part of the ward (there are no gravel lanes in Royalwood, Bonavista or Sage Creek).

Maintenance of the gravel lanes is almost always the leading source of complaints to my office. This past summer, with its heavy rainfall, led to even more complaints than usual. There have been about 20 gravel lanes paved in St. Vital since 2014 through the Local Improvements program, with residents paying for 50 per cent of the cost of paving the lane with asphalt and the city paying the other 50 per cent and installing a drain. About 40 lanes have been paved in other parts of the city; mostly in St. Boniface, an area with a large amount of gravel lanes.

The lane paving program began to decline in popularity in 2019 and we searched for a new option for lane maintenance. In the 2020 budget, Council approved my suggestion that we allocate $350,000 per year for the new “pulvimixer” treatment of gravel lanes. This treatment involves a kind of roto-tiller to stir up the gravel lane, with new gravel and cement elements being added in. The same level of funding has also been included in the 2021 and 2022 capital budgets.

Progress on the pulvimixer program has been slow, perhaps very slow, but steady. Some unsuccessful experiments were run on the gravel lanes serving Robertson Crescent and Fernwood Avenue. Plans to do a lane serving Moore Avenue (east of Dunkirk) were shelved when maps showing gas lines underneath the gravel lane made the tilling part of the operation unfeasible. Finally, in fall 2022, the city put a package of lanes out to tender. As a result, the first big roster of pulvimixer work will take place in 2023, with seven lanes in St. Vital scheduled, with another tender planned for additional lanes. Not all of the work is set for St. Vital (though this ward does have the largest number of gravel lanes), as St. Boniface and North Kildonan wards will also receive a share of the budget.

I am hopeful that the pulvimixing can reduce the number of lane complaints. It’s not the same as paving, but it is a recognition that the city has some role to play in maintaining this part of the city’s ageing infrastructure.

Brian Mayes

Brian Mayes
St. Vital ward report

Brian Mayes is the city councillor for St. Vital.

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