Smithers staff have fingers crossed for good weather after council approved their recommendation that Rosenthal Road repairs move ahead this fall.
The slope above the Perimeter Trail partially collapsed in May at a structure meant to stabilize the road after heavy rain. Another deluge last week combined with the quickly approaching winter had some on council concerned, but staff explained the risk of total collapse before or during spring melt would cost a lot more.
The work is expected to take five weeks at the most with clearing of slope vegetation taking a week, removal of the existing slope another week to 10 days, and replacement taking two to two-and-a-half weeks. That is after a contractor is hired, so work is anticipated to happen Nov. 6 to Dec. 8.
Ground saturation and risk of collapse would be low after a rock base is put in, according to staff. Director of Development Services for the Town Mark Allen said the road itself is mostly stable, with the outer metre to metre-and-a-half unstable.
Council unanimously (Coun. Shelley Browne was not in attendance) approved amending the capital plan by adding $375,000 for Rosenthal Road’s restoration with funding of $365,000 in Gas Tax funds and $10,000 from the general operating surplus.
In the report from project coordinator John Steward, it said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure committed to having a geo-technical team perform a secondary review of the conditions to determine if any other options for restoration are viable, but the Ministry did not commit to a timeline.
AMEC was contracted to perform a soil study and recommended three options in its report. Staff recommended option three, which included getting the work done sooner rather than later. Those options are now public and published on the Town website (and below) after council also passed a motion last Tuesday to make the report available.
Steward explained the quicker repair was the more affordable option.
“It [also] allows us to use local resources rather than specialty options and is something that could be done in the spring as well,” he explained.
There was also concern that keeping the road single lane would be a hazard for drivers.
Allen said homes on Eighth Avenue above the road should be safe, and precautions are being taken during work.
“The upper slope will not be touched,” he told council.
“[AMEC] recommended a ground monitor —vibration monitor — be placed on that upper slope during the construction, and we can get an idea how the work is affecting the upper slope. If the readings show too much impact, then they might change.”
The Perimeter Trail below the slope is closed. Part of the project would be to rebuild it at the toe of the slope when restoration is done.
That part of the trail does have a little bit of distance from the Bulkey River, allowing the trial to move closer if necessary.