Millions spent on ring road

Construction crews continue to work on the estimated $120-million first phase of Red Deer’s ring road.

Construction crews continue to work on the estimated $120-million first phase of Red Deer’s ring road.

When completed in 30 years, the eventual six-lane expressway will align Hwy 11A, Northland Drive, 20th Avenue and McKenzie Road.

The estimated final price tag for the completed roadway with interchanges is roughly $500 million.

Ken Haslop, Red Deer City’s major projects engineer, said crews are still working on the grading and the utilities portion of the North Highway Connector Project on Northland Drive between Gaetz Avenue and 30th Avenue.

This summer, the crews graded on both sides of the Red Deer River, which included building the large bridge embankment for the future bridge across the Red Deer River.

“We did a lot of major utility work on both sides of the river as well,” said Haslop.

“On the east side, we installed a new storm treatment pond for the greater East Hill area and also a storm trunk line running down the escarpment to tie into the new pond.

“On the west side of the river, we also did a lot of grading work and cut some fills in the area all the way up to Gaetz Avenue.”

The crews finished three of four contracts on the phase, including grading on the west and east sides of Red Deer River, and major sanitary trunk extensions on the west side of the river, on Riverside Drive.

Starting shortly, the crews will begin installing the greater East Hill sanitary trunk system and the regional sanitary line, the fourth contract.

This will take more than a year to complete. Installing the sanitary line and trunk system will not interfere with traffic or travel.

About $80 million of the budgeted $120 million for Phase 1A has been spent.

This first phase got underway in April 2011 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. This phase included major earth moving, building a wildlife crossing and existing utility relocations and landscaping.

“Basically at that point the project will be sitting idle for a few years until 2016, when construction will resume again on the surfaces works, which is basically the pavement, the curb and gutter and the bridge construction across the Red Deer River,” said Haslop. “For sediment reasons because of the large fills in the bridge abutment, it is recommended by our experts that the fills are able to settle for 12 to 18 months. Then the second reason is financial to allow the funding to catch up to the project.”

Haslop said the project is on schedule and within budget.

The next 1B phase, starting in 2016 and costing $50 million, will see the beginnings of the construction on the actual expressway. The initial two of four lanes on 30th Avenue from Northland Drive to 67th Street will be built. The work is expected to take two years.

The entire project is expected to be finished sometime in the next three decades.