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Town allocating additional $290,000 for asphalt patching

Posted on June 29, 2023 by Taber Times

By Trevor Busch
Taber Times

On the heels of a winter season that played havoc with Taber’s road surfaces, town council is injecting a further $290,000 into the Town’s asphalt patching budget.

The Public Works Department recently conducted its annual assessment of the Town’s roads, taking into account the impact of the last frost. Due to the severity of the winter, certain roads have experienced more extensive damage compared to previous years. The winter season brings snow, rain, and ice, and when water infiltrates the cracks beneath the roads and subsequently freezes, it exacerbates the existing cracks and deteriorates the asphalt. The expansion of water as it transforms into ice causes cracks and potholes to widen and pose an increased risk. 

According to administration, urgent repairs are therefore imperative to address these deteriorated road conditions promptly.

“I do know there’s been some internal and external chatter about our asphalt, through the budgeting process and that sort of thing,” said CAO Derrin Thibault at the June 12 meeting of council. “So this definitely addresses some of that problem.”

The original 2023 asphalt patching operational budget was set at $160,000, with the total cost of asphalt spot patching in 2023 now projected to come in at $450,000.

“We have experienced a few defects and frost boil last winter…they need immediate repair,” said engineering and public works manager Ramin Lahiji. “We can’t just add cold mix to it anymore, it’s past that point. This project is not a mill and overlay. The crew will be removing the asphalt to repair the base.”

Coun. Carly Firth inquired why a significant boost to the patching budget was necessary.

“This year we had a really poor winter, and we had a lot of movement in our asphalt,” said Lahiji. “And therefore, it caused quite a bit of damage, and I would like to fix it before it gets worse.”

Coun. Monica McLean asked if the Town needs to consider a permanent increase to the budget.

“So do you think that foreseeably this is going to be the trend going forward, that we’re going to have to spend more than $160,000 on road repair, or this is just a bad year? What do you think is going to happen, should we increase the budget permanently, or just this year was bad so we’re kind of taking care of it?”

Lahiji was unequivocal about the need to increase the asphalt patching budget in future years.

“This will come. We have done an Infrastructure Master Plan, and in the Infrastructure Master Plan it indicated that we have to raise the budget. Yes, it will – 100 per cent – have to be increased.”

Project management and part of the work will be performed by the Town of Taber workforces.

Coun. Joanne Sorensen had no concerns about adding more than a quarter of a million dollars to the patching budget for 2023.

“I fully support this, and I think that we do need to increase the budget, just due to maybe some repairs that kind of need to be done and dealt with. Does this increase fully alleviate all of the immediate repairs that are needed?”

“I picked the worst of the worst, and the ones that our crew can handle,” replied Lahiji. “This is done by our crew, we’re not going outside.”

Multiple asphalt patches were targeted for 56 Avenue, 47 Street, 46 Street, 53 Avenue, 45 Street, 62 Street, 50 Avenue, 54 Street, 39 Avenue, 52 Street, 64 Avenue, and 53 Street, for an approximate area of 10,850 m squared.

Utility patching included 50 Street, 52 Street, 54 Street, 64 Street, Park Place, and 45 Avenue.

Following deliberation, council voted unanimously to direct Administration to allocate an additional $290,000 from Operating Reserves to offset the increase in cost of asphalt patching work.

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