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May 1, 2010

FEATURE | Water Wastewater Sewer & Watermain

Red Deer ring road project includes wastewater upgrades

RED DEER, Alta.

Phase 1 of the estimated $100 million North Highway Connector (NHC) project will include $36 million in wastewater infrastructure.

The multi-year project in Red Deer will create the first two lanes of an eventual six-lane expressway, crossing the Red Deer River on its course.

Ken Haslop, major projects engineer with the City of Red Deer, said the project’s design team is comprised of three engineering firms: Stantec Consulting Ltd., ISL Infrastructure Systems Ltd. and Parkland Geotechnical Consulting Ltd., which are overseeing the entire project.

The engineer explained that the $36 million wastewater infrastructure component will be broken up into four separate projects.

The first of the utility projects is the greater east hill storm trunk and treatment pond system, a 2.7 metre line and pond that Haslop said will provide the infrastructure for future growth.

“It will open up a number of hectares of new development area in the city’s northeast, as well as drain some existing problem areas,” he said, noting that some of the existing roads drain to an drainage course that is suffering from years of erosion.

A second storm water project will be built on the west side of the river and will consist of a storm sewer main and treatment system.

“It’s a smaller project related to the drainage of the Northland’s Drive roadway itself,” Haslop said.

He noted that the project will also serve an existing industrial area that doesn’t have a pipe system and currently drains overland to the river.

Haslop said that although details haven’t been completed, it is more likely that the west side project will have a mechanical system rather than a treatment pond.

In addition to the new work, the city’s wastewater project calls for the completion of some work begun two years ago on the twinning of the main trunk that feeds the city into the existing wastewater treatment plant.

“The old line that was twinned in 2008 is 40-plus years old,” Haslop explained.

“Part of the reason for twinning the line was to not only increase capacities, but to allow the city to shut down the old line and repair it.”

He said the 1.2 metre line was three-quarters finished and that the second phase will complete the work, extending the Riverside trunks to the wastewater plant.

However, not all of the wastewater work will be for the sole benefit of Red Deer itself. The project will also include building a small segment of the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission’s regional line.

Haslop said the segment will run from 30 Avenue down the escarpment to the Red Deer River, and will be installed as part of the project’s grading work.

The South Red Deer Regional Commission plans to put a trunk line starting as far south as Olds and picking up the towns of Bowden, Innisfail and Penhold, as well as parts of Red Deer County.

It will bring sewage into Red Deer’s wastewater treatment plant.

“It just so happens that a portion of their pipeline happens to be within our project,” Haslop said.

“So, we are offering to build that for them as part of our project for economies of scale and constructability reasons.”

The engineer said it hasn’t been determined yet whether the city or regional commission will be responsible for the installation of siphons underneath the Red Deer River that will be needed to complete the regional line.

What is more certain is how the current infrastructure project will unfold.

Haslop said designs and right-of-way negotiations are currently in the works.

He is anticipating that the utility installation and grading will begin this fall with an anticipated completion date in the fall of 2011.

The balance of first phase of the North Highway Connector project, including the erection of a CN Rail bridge, a river bridge, wildlife crossing, and road work components is scheduled to occur between 2014 and 2016.

The $36 million wastewater project is being funded through a federal-provincial-municipal partnership.

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