Barrier walls to be replaced

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A barrier wall along the west side of St. Albert Trail will come down next year and Deer Ridge residents will have their say in what goes up in its place.

The precast concrete wall runs from Giroux Road to Villeneuve Road and is currently deteriorating. It was first constructed between 1983 and 1992 to reduce noise and create a visual barrier for residents.

Now, the city is acting on recommendations from engineers that the wall be completely replaced by 2020. The city is on track to meet that objective and completed an evaluation of the wall earlier this summer.

The next step is for the wall to be designed. Construction is expected to begin in 2018.

Meredith Willacy, capital projects manager with the city, said an information session scheduled for Wednesday will give residents a chance to have one-on-one conversations with city staff about the project.

“It’s important for residents to attend to be informed, to be able to talk to somebody one-on-one and maybe get those questions answered that you kind of have in the back of your mind,” she said.

“The reality is, we will impact you – it’s just a matter of how much.”

Although design has not been completed yet, the new wall will follow a different alignment than the current one in order to increase its lifespan.

Cost estimates are not yet available for the project, although Willacy confirmed the city has some preliminary estimates.

“(That) could change based on some comments we receive. We have different types of wall we’re looking at, and it could vary,” she explained.

“Right now, we’re currently looking at different materials and we’re weighing the options between the economics of the life-cycle costs, future needs, aesthetics and maintenance. At the open house, we will present the final option.”

The wall is one of two the city will be rebuilding. The second section, which runs east side of St. Albert Trail from Hebert Road to Sturgeon Road, will be replaced in 2019 and 2020.

The city discovered in 2010 the current walls have structural issues. In 2012, the city temporarily improved the wall’s safety by removing top sections, which increased noise levels.

Willacy said the first phase of the current project, which included measuring sound levels and collecting infrastructure information, has been completed.

Current noise levels for Deer Ridge along the wall range from 51 decibels to 54.

“We got the information we needed, and then we’re kind of moving ahead,” she said.

Similar meetings will be held in Braeside and Sturgeon Heights as the project progresses, and a second information session for Deer Ridge will occur closer to construction.

Wednesday’s information session will be 6 to 8 p.m. at the Salvation Army at 165 Liberton Drive.

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