Categories: Local News

Glenhaven sewer construction halts

Workers repair a burst fire hydrant at Glenhaven Cresent in St. Albert on Thursday Sept 14, 2017.

Sanitary sewer upgrades along Glenhaven Crescent are on hold until the spring.

On Thursday, the city decided to stop further construction on the project and ordered the contractor, Kichton Contracting, to focus instead on paving the parts of the street where work has already been completed before winter hits.

Residents along Glenhaven Crescent have had limited access to their properties this summer, with their driveways blocked off in order for the project to proceed.

Kevin Cole, director of utilities with the City of St. Albert, said Thursday the city has asked for an updated schedule from Kichton and will pass that along to residents next week.

“We’re focusing now on getting the roadway restored and making sure residents have access to their property,” Cole said.

“We’ve kind of stopped all forward progress of the contractor for the time being (and) we’ve given them direction as of today that we want any of the streets that have been dug up to be the number-one priority.”

Cole said the city does not expect the change in plans to significantly increase the cost of the project. So far, the city has only issued one major change order, which directed Kichton to work around the trees in the area.

“The biggest concern we have is the residents and the impact we’ve had on them,” he said.

“We’ll know more (about costs) in the spring.”

The project aims to address sanitary sewer capacity problems along Glenhaven Crescent, Greenwich Crescent, Grosvenor Boulevard and Grandin Road, and entered the second part of its second phase on Sept. 6, according to an update on the city’s website.

Delays have plagued the project and residents approached the Gazette at the beginning of September with concerns about safety and lack of access after the city stopped work on the project altogether for a few days.

On Sept. 11, Glenhaven resident Stuart Loomis appeared before city council to express his frustration about how the project has been managed.

He pointed to lengthy delays and lack of an explanation from the city regarding those delays as one of his concerns.

Glenn Tompolski, general manager of development and infrastructure services, told councillors during that meeting that while delays may not have reached the 2.5-month mark Loomis cited, the project was definitely behind schedule.

Cole said several factors caused the delays, including the city’s change order to have the contractor work around trees.

Tree removed after hydrant fails

During his presentation, Loomis said a hydrant failure connected to the project meant a 50-year-old spruce tree near his property had to be removed.

Loomis, who has lived at his home for 41 years, said the tree was planted before he moved in and he watched the tree grow and mature over the past four decades.

“That tree needs to be replaced with a significant tree immediately before we go into winter,” he said.

Cole said the tree’s roots had wrapped around the barrel of the hydrant and after consulting with an arbourist the city determined the tree had to be removed in order for the hydrant to be replaced..

He added the city is consulting with the neighbourhood to find out what residents want the tree replaced with.

As for the hydrant, Cole said it was being used as a temporary connection for the houses in the neighbourhood when it sprung a leak and ultimately failed.

That failure, he added, was simply bad timing.

“The hydrant is fairly old. It’s kind of a normal occurrence that over time it wears out,” he said.

He said the city is investigating whether the leak damaged the tree root system of other trees in the area, as it caused ground subsidence.

“Our initial review of it appears that there isn’t going to be any damage to the tree root system,” Cole said.

April Hudson: