As contractors working on a sanitary sewer line in St. Albert get ready to start digging one of the line’s longest tunnels, project manager Larry Galye is looking forward to catching up on lost time.
The project fell six months behind schedule earlier this year. Starting in September, a second tunnelling machine should be on-site and Galye says he wants to shave off three of those six months.
“We’re really optimistic that we’re going to start increasing productivity and recovering some of our lost time,” he said.
“Certainly, we had hiccups up to this point, but now we are moving smoothly along.”
St. Albert’s Project 9, also known as the Phase 3 North Interceptor Trunk Line, is a 3.2-kilometre sanitary sewer line, most of which is being done below ground. The line will help support development on the west side of St. Albert as well as in South Riel.
The city wrapped up construction around the St. Albert Centre Transit Exchange a month earlier than expected, thanks to good ground conditions, and plans to complete work north of the Sturgeon River by the end of July.
Construction is ongoing at the corner of St. Vital Avenue and St. Albert Trail until then. That’s where the sewer line will connect to the Phase 1 North Interceptor line.
Project 9 goes under St. Albert Trail, through the St. Albert Centre exchange, along Rivercrest Crescent, across the Sturgeon River and up Sturgeon Road, ending at the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission’s lift station on Sturgeon Road and Sir Winston Churchill Avenue.
Galye said workers are in the midst of doing restoration at the St. Vital Avenue location.
“We’ve made the temporary connection and we are just waiting. We have to do a little bit of concrete work in the bottom, and then we’ll start back-filling and restoring the area,” he said.
The city will also be replacing curbs and gutters there, repaving the sidewalks and roadway, and taking care of landscaping.
The construction at that corner is happening a stone’s throw away from the Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home.
Gary Lynn, general manager of Connelly-McKinley, says the construction has affected the funeral home but construction crews have kept up great communication.
“If they bring something in, they’ve always asked permission – it’s been really good,” he said.
“This is progress for the future of St. Albert. So it’s a little inconvenience on the corner, but for the long-range goals, we see the value of expansion and development of St. Albert.”
Long drive to Shaft 11
Galye says crews have finished tunnelling from Shaft 10 along Sturgeon Road to Shaft 9 (between just south of Berrymore Drive and south of Bishop Street).
Now, crews are getting ready to dig one of the project’s longest tunnels: a 490-metre stretch from Shaft 10 to just past Butterfield Crescent.
He estimates that stretch will take between 45 and 55 days.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time because they have to break through the concrete piling walls and there’s reinforcing piles. That’ll take probably three or four days to do that,” he said.
“With the concrete piles, they can’t force the machine through – it’s gotta be a slow grind through it.”
And while Project 9 construction will spill over into 2019, Galye said the plan is to have the Sturgeon roadway open for the winter.
Depending on when tunnelling finishes, they may have to do a temporary road patch and come back in spring to lay down proper asphalting.
“I’m hoping that by late this fall, we’ll be off Sturgeon Road where the two shafts are in the roadway itself, (and) that we’ll have those reclaimed,” he said.
“I really want to get out of Shaft 10 and reclaim that, because the residents there have been very patient with us. We’ve been there a long time.”