Smooth ride awaits cyclists
Cyclists racing down through Red Deer during the upcoming Tour of Alberta can expect an especially smooth ride — mostly.
City crews are working on downtown sections of Ross Street this week with intentions to move east up the hill on Saturday and continue working eastward from there.
The bike race arrives in Red Deer on Thursday, Sept. 5. Unfortunately, one section of Ross Street hill will be left as it is because of underground work that needs to be done first. That section will likely not be paved until next year, said Heather Britton, public works technologist for the city.
Cyclists can also expect a much rougher ride when they turn north off Ross Street and onto 48th Avenue, which is not part of this year’s re-crowning schedule, said Mayor Morris Flewwelling.
It’s a pleasant coincidence that Ross and 55th Streets will both be covered in new pavement when the tour comes into Red Deer, Flewwelling said on Thursday.
“It’s part of our crown paving rehabilitation program,” he said. Planning would have been finalized in the spring of last year, subject to budget approvals.
“There’s a major plan for all of the road repaving. It’s very comprehensive. When we rebuilt 32nd Street, that one was a biggee — that was about four years in the planning,” said Flewwelling.
Even before they reach Red Deer, the racers will ride over freshly-laid chip seal on the portion of Hwy 11 that brings them into the city from Hwy 815.
Val Mellesmoen, marketing, communications and broadcast manager for the Tour of Alberta, said the peloton association does require that all road surfaces be paved.
Tour organizers have not asked any communities along the route to upgrade their road surfaces, said Mellesmoen.
“In general, almost any paved highway in Alberta meets the standard. Any kind of paving that might be happening in and around that area is coincidence, probably,” she said.
Britton said she did not have a detailed schedule for the Ross Street work on Thursday afternoon, but will post information on the city’s website as that schedule is made final. Motorists can check for updates at www.reddeer.ca and should also pay attention to signs in the area for information about pending road closures.
The 175-km Stage 2 of the Tour of Alberta comes into Red Deer on Sept. 5, with racers to complete three loops once they enter the city. They will hit top speed heading down Ross Street, then turn north on 48th Avenue and east on 55th Street to climb the Michener Hill, before heading south on 40th Avenue and back to Ross Street, ultimately finishing in the city centre.
Access to the city centre will be limited during that day.