The City of Oshawa has a lot planned for the upcoming construction season.
One of the major projects that will be completed this year is the Conlin Road and Thornton Road roundabout, which will help ease traffic flow when the Highway 407 extension is finished, according to Gary Carroll, director of Engineering Services for the City of Oshawa.
The city started the project prior to the 407 extension being completed and it is an $8-million project.
“We knew full well that there is going to be a lot of traffic between Thickson Road and Simcoe Street. So we anticipated that and we got ahead of it to try and accommodate the traffic in the area,” said Carroll.
The purpose of the roundabout is to make a simple, efficient way of directing traffic while lowering the severity of motor accidents.
Oshawa will also receive up to 80 kilometres of work for the asphalt, pavement and sidewalk repairs and preventative work.
This includes crack sealing, when rubberized asphalt is placed into cracks in the road to stop it from spreading. In some cases a few layers of asphalt is removed and a new asphalt top is layered on top to fix bigger road problems.
The city also replaces sidewalks, curbs and ramps to match accessibility guidelines for the province.
The City of Oshawa will also be repairing four pedestrian bridges as well as make watercourse improvements in the Goodman and Harmony creeks. The creeks are a $500,000 project.
“We will naturalize the streams and add pools for fish,” said Carroll. “Basically we put it back the way it would be otherwise in the wild.”
The process that the city goes through to determine which projects they do first is fairly detailed through road needs and bridge needs.
“We go out and we access the conditions of the roads under various criteria and we give them a rating number,” said Carroll. “When all is said and done, we score them and we determine which ones have the highest need.”
Bridgework is different because it is covered by provincial legislation that makes it mandatory to inspect and maintain the bridges every two years. Carroll’s group stays on top of this on a frequent basis because they want to stay ahead of maintenance.
Carroll says that roughly 90 per cent of Oshawa’s bridges fall into the very good to excellent category.
These last few years Engineering Services of Oshawa has introduced a new way of getting construction contracts that saves the city money, according to Paul Ralph, commissioner of development services for the City of Oshawa.
The city gets council to approve time-sensitive projects in the fall, which allows them to go out in the wintertime and get the best possible deal for construction work for the upcoming construction season through a bidding process.
Carroll’s group is also working on an assets management plan.
“What that does, is it will [explain] more about all of the city’s assets whether it be buildings, sewers, pipes, that type of thing,” said Paul Ralph. “It will set out the criteria by which you actually make a decision for where the priorities are for spending your capital money in future.”
Ralph stressed that council is a big part of why they can do so much work.
“We’ve got a great council, that understands that funding capital projects is a very important part of maintaining our infrastructure,” said Ralph.
The city of Oshawa is introducing a new accessibility feature at intersections in the form of a metallic plate that is cast into the pavement to help people with accessibility or mobility issues as they walk towards intersections.
“Legislation calls for it to start in 2016 but we made the decision that with all of our capital projects we are going to do that this year,” said Carroll. “We’ve also asked for developers in the community where there is subdivisions or large apartment complexes to also include the same type of feature everywhere there is pedestrian activity adjacent to a roadway.”