After a summer that saw major detours and changing lane closures through the center of the city, the construction project on Franklin Avenue is coming to a close.

“Overall it was a large success,” said Chris Greencorn, director of public works. “I know it may have seemed like it was kind of dragging out at times but it was quite a complex project and a lot of different moving parts but no major hiccups.”

Northland Utilities crews work to replace streetlights along a median on Franklin Avenue. Re-lighting the street is one of the final steps of a two year construction project. James O’Connor/NNSL photo

The project spanned across the summers of 2017 and 2018 and included work to replace major water and sewer lines, asphalt resurfacing, replacement of curbs and gutters and improvements to street lighting.

The majority of the project is now in the books with Northland Utilities currently erecting street lights along the Franklin median. In 2019, the project will finish with landscaping and design work being completed.

“We’ve got some small clean-up work to do behind curbs and stuff to make sure everything looks good. That will typically happen the year after ’cause in most projects we’re always in this time of year so we go back the next spring and kind of clean up,” said Greencorn.

The project closed Franklin Avenue between Forrest Drive and Gitzel Street for a portion of the summer, traffic was diverted from the major road and onto residential roads during that time. Upon re-opening, Franklin had changing lane closures throughout the rest of the summer months.

Greencorn said there were no major hurdles that the project had to overcome but noted that due to the short time frame the city had to finish the project in, there were many little bumps along the way. Over the two summers, the project ran a price tag of $7.5 million, 75 per cent of which came from a federal grant through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF).

“I’d like to throw a shout out to the residents of Yellowknife, we know its been an intense couple years of construction due to the influx of that CWWF, so that’s why we really had multiple construction zones all over town and it really helped out the Yellowknife Capital Planning program.” said Greencorn.

Moving forward, Greencorn said the administration has suggestions for which roads need to be addressed next. Those suggestions and the costs associated with them will be brought to the new City Council during next month’s budget deliberations.

“The city is starting our budget process and through that administration has some recommendations on streets that need to get done, both on the water and sewer side and the paving side of things so city council will have a chance to see those projects and ask questions and determine if that’s where they want to take our funding,” said Greencorn.

The 2019 city budget is expected to be completed before the end of the calendar year.

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