The Town of Hay River has faced a number of problems in the water and sewer line replacement project on Wright Crescent.

A water and sewer upgrading project is underway on Wright Crescent. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

In an update at its Oct. 24 meeting, council received a report on the project.

“Due to a late start it is expected that the Town will not spend the $2.1 million budgeted

for work in 2017 as the storm sewer work will not be completed this year,” wrote Earle Dumas, director of projects and planning with the town. “The budget associated with the storm sewer work is approximately $300,000 and those funds will be carried over to 2018 when the work will be completed.”

Council previously approved $2.8 million for Wright Crescent upgrades, which will include paving and the installation of sidewalks next year.

The work commenced in September.

In comments to The Hub, Mayor Brad Mapes noted there was also a break in old pipes on Oct. 12 that interrupted water service overnight to areas of Wright Crescent, Stewart Drive, Miron Drive and Riverbend Road.

“It was a concern for me for the residents to live without water,” he said.

The problem occurred on the afternoon of Oct. 12 and water service was restored just after 8 a.m. the next morning.

The mayor explained that, when the new water line was attached to a line on Stewart Drive, the old line busted and started leaking.

“Long story short, the pipe was an old corroded metal pipe that they needed to replace,” he said.

The mayor said something like that is pretty impossible to predict.

“And I think what it comes back to is that the town seriously needs to make sure that we look at our underground infrastructure and make sure that we’re updating it properly,” he said. “Wright Crescent should have been replaced 15 years ago. We just kept on delaying it. People don’t complain about something because you don’t see it underground until the line breaks.”

The problem resulted in a big hole on Stewart Drive as the break was repaired.

Mapes said he was very impressed with the way the affected residents understood the situation.

Plus, he praised Dumas and his staff, along with contractor Rowe’s Construction, for the speed with which they dealt with the break.

“Once the water got going, there were issues with the line that was temporary for the Wright Crescent people,” said Mapes. “The line was frozen, so we had to go around and unthaw them.”

Mapes noted the Wright Crescent project started later than had been hoped.

“Some of the issues is the fact that it’s cold right now and we’re having some little bit of a problem with freeze-ups,” he said. “Going forward, I think one of the issues with that project was the fact that we had it in our capital plan to do, but we were waiting to see if we were going to get the funding through the government to help pay for it. And that’s why the project was later in the season.”

Mapes explained the town can’t put a project out for tender without first assuring that it has funding to pay for it.

The late start was compounded by the weather turning colder earlier than usual, he noted. “Last year, it probably wouldn’t have been as big of an issue.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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