2018 budget takes proactive approach to road repairs

In 2018, the City of Cold Lake will spend just under $2.2 million in capital road infrastructure improvements as it moves towards a proactive stance that will keep pace with the condition of the city’s roadways.

“Staff have put a lot of research into the city’s road program and we are starting to see the full benefit of their hard work,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “Maintenance projects are chosen based on what work will best extend the life of the roadways, and this allows the city to get the most mileage possible from our community’s tax dollars.”

The city’s annual Capital Street Improvement Program uses engineering software that analyses the surface condition of the community’s roads. It uses this information to identify areas for both functional and structural overlays. These extend the life of the road before the expensive option of total reconstruction becomes necessary. The software is calibrated periodically using instrumentation driven along all of the city’s roads. It estimates that the city requires $1.75 million in annual investment to maintain the current state of the road system. Council allocated just over $1 million in Basic Municipal Transportation Grants toward this project, adding additional funding to bring the project’s total to the recommended $1.75 million for 2018.

“We’ve hit the mark where we can expect our investment to sustain the condition of the roadways, and we have the data to back it up,” Copeland said. “This program will protect our community’s past and future investments in our road infrastructure and so this is an important milestone to reach.”

In 2017, the city had a Commercial Lane Improvement Program and a Residential Lane Improvement Program. After years of progress on laneways, the 2018 budget collapses both of the programs into a single Lane Improvement Program. The program will continue to tackle issues with residential and commercial laneways with a budget of $400,000.

“Lots of laneways are looking better, but we know there is still more work to do,” Copeland said. “We saw an opportunity to streamline these programs and continue to make progress on our laneways. Staff will make decisions on which lanes to improve based on the budget and the locations that need it most.”

In addition to the Capital Street Improvement Program, the city’s annual road maintenance budget was increased to $275,000 from $175,000 and the Pavement Patching Program was increased to $175,000 from $125,000.

“Our roads have come a long way and this council will continue to see progress while also committing to ensure our roadways see the maintenance they need,” Copeland said. “This approach will make sure each dollar we spend on roads will go as far as possible.”

Council also voted to include the addition of a self-contained asphalt repair unit to enhance the city’s pothole repair service.

 

Cold Lake City Council unanimously passed the 2018 operating and capital budgets with just over $53.5 million in total expenditures, forecasting an average municipal tax increase of about 4.8 per cent. The 2018 operating budget was passed at about $51.4 million, including a transfer to the capital budget of about $9.2 million. Inclusive of the transfer, the capital budget sits at just over $11.5 million.