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Yorkton takes on massive York Road reconstruction project

Project will cost $26,600,000.
Yorkton Street work
Yorkton will begin the most expensive road reconstruction in the city's history in May. (File Photo)

YORKTON - The complete reconstruction of York Road will begin in May after Yorkton gave final approval for the $26,600,000 project at its regular meeting Monday.

In the 2021 capital budget, the York Road Reconstruction was identified and approved as a priority project,” explained René Richard, Director of Engineering and Asset Management with the city.

The York Road Reconstruction project will likely be the most expensive civil project (non-facility) and arguably the most complex in Yorkton’s history to date, added Richard.

I’m fully behind this project,” said Councillor Chris Wyatt in making the motion to move forward.

Coun. Dustin Brears said something needed to be done.

Something has to happen. York Road is a disaster,” he offered.

It is a project Coun. Randy Goulden said has been on the city’s radar for some time.

As you know this has been in discussion for many, many years,” she said.

Coun. Darcy Zaharia however had concerns with the cost.

I understand the need to get York Road done,” he said, but added the increase in cost since first considered made the project unpalatable. He would be the lone vote against the project.

The reconstruction project is from Gladstone Avenue North to Highway 9, and includes complete road reconstruction, curb replacement, sanitary sewer upgrades, storm sewer upgrades, and the north central drainage upgrades including the York Road crossing.

Initially, in 2021 the estimated cost at that time was approximately $17 million and that amount was approved in budget.

Richard noted leading up to Monday’s decision a lot of work had already been undertaken, including a Traffic Impact Assessment.

The study showed the existing five lanes can be reduced to three without affecting levels of service,” he said.

The new design would include only one lane eastbound and westbound, reduced from the current two in each direction. The center shared left turning lane would remain. This reduces the amount of area of paved surface required which will reduce costs. In addition, since the new curb line along the north side will move south, the majority of the existing water main will no longer be located under the roadway and does not need to be replaced as part of this project.”

geotechnical report was completed.

Within the report there is provision for either an asphalt surface or concrete structure. Additionally millings from the existing asphalt will be reused in the structure of the new roadway. Both surface options were included in the tender and evaluated based on which bids provides the best value,” said Richard.

Work was also carried out regarding potential soil contamination, “Due to contaminated soil impacts that occurred during the water main replacement on York Road in 2020 and the industrial nature of the area, an environmental engineering consultant was hired for this project,” offered Richard.

A Phase 1 environmental report was competed to identify potential areas of contamination. Properties were identified as either being low, medium or high risk for contamination. Property owners of the medium and high category were contacted to provide any additional information on past contamination. A modified Phase 2 was completed, and test holes were sampled at six locations. While no impacts over the limit were detected, there still may be some pockets of contamination that may be discovered. Provision to deal with contaminated soil is included in the contract and budget, and a “Soil and Groundwater Management Plan” has been developed to reduce costs and delays to the project should contamination ultimately be discovered, detailed Richard’s report to Council.

The Traffic Accommodation Strategy for this project is very important, continued Richard.

Highway traffic will be detoured around the City, but there will also need to be local detours for local traffic,” he said.

Also, access to businesses must be maintained at all times so business is not negatively impacted. Most businesses along the north side of York Road only have access from York Road. The construction will need to be phased so that each business has access continually. We anticipate that nine phases will be required to guarantee continual access to all businesses on the north side.

In some instances, temporary access will be constructed to maintain access. Although we will try our best to limit the damage, it is possible that some roads included in the local detours may be damaged. Any potential costs to repair these roadways has not been included in the cost of the project.

As part of the project, a significant amount of underground utilities will be upgraded. There are two sanitary sewers that run under York Road. The 200 mm diameter sewer that runs from Myrtle Avenue to Dracup Avenue is nearing its capacity and will be up-sized as part of the project. The larger 600 mm diameter sewer has capacity and is in relatively good shape. Therefore it can be relined at a future time when required and does not need to be replaced as part of this project.

There is a significant portion of storm sewer that is undersized and will be upgraded as part of the project,” said Richard.

This will help eliminate water ponding during intense rain events. When underground utilities get up-sized to increase capacity, there is potential for vertical conflicts with other utilities such as power, gas, etc. That is also the case with this project. The utility companies have been provided updated drawings as per the tender documents, and we are still waiting for finalized quotations for alterations. This work falls outside of the construction contract, but estimated costs have been included in the project budget.”

Water and sewer service connections that are connected to the York Road utilities will require replacement to the property line to avoid digging up the new roadway if the connection needs replacement in the near future.

The North Central Drainage project is included in the overall York Road Reconstruction project.

This drainage component was identified in the Flood Mitigation Report 2017. It was included in this project due to the significant excavation that will be required to cross York Road, but also will be required to accommodate the increased flows expected from the upgrading of the local storm sewer that will outlet to this system, said Richard.

Three tenders were received, with the lowest which was accepted made by G Ungar Construction Co. Ltd. for $15,615,561 for asphalt.

The total estimated required budget for the York Road Reconstruction Project will need to be $25,500,000 for the asphalt option or $30,700,000 ($5,200,000 difference) for the concrete option.

There is currently $2,500,000 allocated annually in the capital budget ($2,000,000 for road reconstruction + $500,000 for drainage) for the York Road Reconstruction project, said Richard.

In addition, The City of Yorkton signed a contract with the Ministry of Highways (MHI) in March 2021 for their portion of funding for the roadway potion of the project. MHI has committed $4,312,260 for this project which represents 70 per cent of the roadways portion of the cost estimate at the time, he said.

Additionally, a significant portion of the work is related to potable water and sanitary sewer, and those portions could be funded from the Utility Reserve. It is proposed that the Utility Reserve fund $3,700,000 of the project costs, said Richard.

Since this project cannot be funded internally, borrowing will be required. The cost of borrowing is not included in the project costs but will need to be accounted for in the payment plan.