City crews work on a sewer main replacement along North Park Drive. Work is expected to continue until late May, with road upgrades between Seventh and 10th Avenues. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

City of Port Alberni embarks on first major capital project of 2018

Sewer main replacement expected to take a month, cost $400K

The warm, dry weather the Alberni Valley has been experiencing means the road construction season has begun. City of Port Alberni public works employees have been busy on North Park Drive replacing a sewer main.

“It’s our first large capital project for the year,” said Wilf Taekema, City of Port Alberni director of engineering and public works.

“What we’re doing is replacing a large sewer main and also rebuilding the road, which was in very bad shape.

The work is being done “to accommodate future growth and improve drainage” in the area.

Work includes excavating a trench, installing sections of sewer main and tying the new main into the existing sewer system. The trench will be backfilled as crews work, drainage basins will be upgraded and the road surface fixed, then paved from curb to curb.

Crews are also working on the city’s ongoing plan to separate sewer and storm drainage: this particular sewer collects from above 10th Avenue as well, Taekema explained.

“It moves us toward separation in that vicinity.”

Ongoing work has meant road closures along North Park Drive between Seventh and 10th Avenues, diverting traffic down Burde Street to avoid equipment and excavating material.

“We’re moving along well” and on schedule, he added. As work progresses, the excavated trench will be backfilled and the road restored with a temporary, drivable surface.

Once the sewer installation is complete, the road will be upgraded from curb to curb—requiring a full road closure. It’s also weather dependent, the public works department noted in a bulletin on the city’s website,

Taekema said the fact the work is happening on top of the Dry Creek ravine hasn’t been a challenge. “There’s quite an area of separation between the cliff side and the road.”

The project is expected to wrap up in late May, about a month after it began.

The entire project will cost in the neighbourhood of $400,000, Taekema said.

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