Road construction gets bumpy reception

  • Apr. 12, 2011 2:00 p.m.
The condition of Secondary Highway 771 near the Rimbey Gas Plant has caused some concern in the last few weeks. However

The condition of Secondary Highway 771 near the Rimbey Gas Plant has caused some concern in the last few weeks. However

By TREENA MIELKE

The poor condition of Secondary Highway 771 northeast of the Keyera Gas Plant is causing at least on area resident some concern.

Robin Burns, who uses the road regularly to drive to work in Rimbey, said the conditions have been dangerous.

“It’s starting to dry up now, so it is improving, but the frustrating part is no one seems to know the full plan for the road.”

Burns said the road should have been closed to all but local traffic.

“There are still large trucks trying to use this road, leaving monster ruts in their wake,” he said. “There is no road bans in place.”

Stu Becker, regional director for Alberta Transportation, said an unusually wet winter has created rough road conditions along the highway.

However, he said Alberta Transportation has been in regular contact with their engineering consultant and construction contractor to ensure that whenever grading or gravelling was required, it was undertaken as quickly as was practical.

“Some 30 loads of gravel were applied to (Secondary) Highway 771 during the spring, and recent reports show that the road has dried and is now in better condition than a few weeks ago.”

However, Becker said the extremely wet conditions occurring this spring, combined with a recently constructed grade, can cause conditions to deteriorate quickly.

This problem will be largely solved once the project is completed, he said.

“Upon completion of this project, the highway will be much better equipped to handle traffic during wet weather.”

Becker said the Secondary Highway 771 grading project was awarded to Crow Enterprises in October of last year with a contract completion date of June 2011.

The six-kilometre grading project included the replacement of a bridge structure and several adjustments to utilities within the highway right of way.

Becker said work on the bridge replacement began in the fall to complete the project on schedule and avoid work within the creek during the spring.

“The remaining construction work will be completed early in 2011 and we expect that it will be completed prior to the contract completion date,” he said.

Becker said anyone with concerns about the highway during construction may contact Mike Damberger, construction manager, in Red Deer at 403-340-4867.