Construction season in full swing despite COVID-19 pandemic
2020 has been a significant year for City-led construction in Edmonton. Work underway includes the Yellowhead Freeway Conversion, the Groat Road Bridge Replacement and numerous LRT projects to Neighbourhood Renewal, park restoration, pothole repair among many others.
Currently, 94 per cent of the City’s construction projects are tracking on budget, and 84 per cent are on schedule.
“Despite the challenges that a busy construction season can bring, especially with the added pressures of the pandemic, we’ve continued working safely for Edmonton’s future, maintaining and improving our city,” said Jason Meliefste, Acting Deputy City Manager. “Robust and healthy infrastructure is critical to a safe and healthy Edmonton. A city of one million people depends on the work we are doing across transportation, neighbourhoods, parks, facilities and LRT, and that is why it was so important to keep this work moving forward.”
Safety is our top priority
While we proceed with construction work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the City and its contractors are following the requirements of Alberta Health, ensuring construction sites are safe and sanitary and provide adequate space for workers and the public to maintain appropriate physical distance.
These safety measures allow the City to continue to advance important projects during COVID-19.
Capital project updates
Crews have begun widening Yellowhead Trail to 3 lanes in each direction from 61 Street to the North Saskatchewan River. This will significantly improve traffic flow through one of the city’s major corridors.
Residents can expect to see a minimum of two lanes maintained in each direction during daytime hours, with further reductions possible during night time hours. Temporary ramp closures may occur overnight.
Crews are also busy boring drainage pipes with a massive auger machine directly below Yellowhead Trail without disrupting traffic.
Eastbound widening is anticipated to finish in 2021, with the majority of the work in the westbound direction being completed by the end of this year. The Yellowhead Trail Freeway Conversion is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2027.
Work continues on Groat Road Bridge. Traffic on the bridge remains one lane in both directions. Off-peak night time closures will continue and full daytime closures are planned for the end of September. This project is on track to be completed by the end of fall 2020.
The Valley Line West LRT route is being prepped for full construction of the project to begin next year. Crews are busy completing utility relocations and building removals to accommodate the new infrastructure.
Valley Line Southeast construction continues and Edmontonians will see shelter structures going in for the stops, the final sets of cable stays being installed on the Tawatinâ Bridge and Train #13 arriving in the city. Additionally, the Kâhasinîskâk Bridge has been lifted into place over Connors Road and crews continue to finalize the installation. The Metro Line Northwest Extension Phase 1 from NAIT to Blatchford began construction in June.
The City’s 40-plus year-old LRT network requires maintenance and upgrades to ensure it continues serving Edmontonians efficiently and reliably over the long-term. In May, the City began major maintenance and revitalization projects to the network. Since then, we have completed several LRT crossing enhancements and upgraded the McKernan LRT Station Platform.
Work has begun on the Stadium Station Redevelopment project, it is expected to be complete by January 2022.
The City’s Neighbourhood Renewal Program has been in full swing this summer with 16 projects currently underway.
Over 100 kilometres of roadway and sidewalk will be completed this year, and over 10 kilometres of alleys will be reconstructed.
We are currently working to build 16 playgrounds, including 2 natural playground projects at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park and Dermott District Park, 3 spray parks, 7 trail realignment or renewal projects, 3 sportfields and several larger profile parks including Kinistinâw Park, Beaumaris Lake Park Rehabilitation and the Butler Memorial Park Renewal.
The projects in this year’s construction season will employ approximately 10,000 people from the Edmonton region working directly on these projects as well as in related industries. The projects will engage over 300 vendors that are locally owned or based in Edmonton.
Improving our City’s roads and bridges
While the City continues to build for the future, crews also ensure Edmonton’s current infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, remain safe and usable for residents. Last week alone, City crews completed almost 12,000 pothole and asphalt repairs. Since the beginning of 2020, crews have completed more than 309,905 pothole and asphalt repairs—an increase of 61,830 potholes from 2019. With fewer commuters, crews have been able to safely tend to more locations. To date in 2020, there have been 117 bridge inspections and more than 107 bridges have been washed—both an increase in the number planned for completion by this point in the season. “We understand that the impacts of construction have been felt differently this year, with many more Edmontonians spending their days at home and off the roads. As much as possible, the City has been working to minimize the impacts to citizens and keep them informed,” said Meliefste. “Construction season can be a massive and disruptive undertaking, and we really appreciate people’s understanding and support, now more than ever, as work is underway to improve our City for the future.”