The intersection at Cheam Avenue and Highway 9 will be getting four new sidewalk letdowns to promote accessibility in the District of Kent. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Road assessment, sidewalk replacement on the way for Agassiz

The study will look at the viability of local roads, while replacements will deal with accessibility

The District of Kent will soon have a better of idea of how its roads are doing, thanks to an assessment being conducted in the district this year.

At council on Monday (May 27), a $47,619 contract was awarded to Stantec Consulting Ltd. to assess all municipal roads in the district and prepare a maintenance plan.

The assessment will see vehicles driving on all of Kent’s roadways, using beams to assess the surface and underlying road conditions. It will pick up any pavement irregularities, as well as road density and other factors.

The assessment will provide staff with a better understanding of the physical condition of paved roads, while the plan will look at options to help the district to maintain a consistent level of service for its roadways. The plan would also recommend road maintenance and rehabilitation priorities, and compare Agassiz road conditions to other municipalities in the province.

This will be the first time the district has undertaken such an assessment, and according to director of development services Darcey Kohuch, it will be well worth the nearly $48,000.

“I’ve experienced doing this when I looked after operations in Smithers, and after we went through a condition assessment, we were wondering how we did without it,” he said.

Under the current system, Kohuch said, maintenance crews tend to wait until roads are visibly bad before repairing them, which can cost more than maintaining the roads based on the assessment plan.

“If you wait until all your roads are really bad and you have to do a complete removal and replacement, that’s where it costs the most money,” he said.

The assessment and plan will be completed by November 2019. A report is scheduled to be presented to council in October 2019.

RELATED: Roads study provides ammunition for District of Kent

Agassiz’s roads won’t be the only items getting an overhaul this year. Council also approved a $32,000 contract to repair sidewalk letdowns in the Agassiz townsite.

This contract, which was awarded to Contour Concrete, will see seven sidewalk letdowns replaced this year, as well as the municipal hall’s driveway letdown, the sinking curb at Garden Place, a sidewalk panel in front of Dragon Fried Rice and the sinking catch basin in front of the Agassiz Legion.

The seven sidewalk letdowns to be replaced are:

  • three letdowns at the Morrow Road and Vimy/Heath Road intersection,
  • two letdowns on the island at the Highway 9 and Cheam Avenue intersection,
  • and two letdowns at the Highway 9 and Cheam Avenue intersection (one in front of municipal hall, the other in front of Pioneer Motors).

According to engineering technologist Patrick Stephens, these replacements will help make the Agassiz townsite more wheelchair accessible.

“If we look at Morrow Road over by the A&W … the way the current sidewalk letdown is set up, is if there’s somebody on a wheelchair heading east on that sidewalk, to use that letdown they have to pop out into Morrow Road basically to get down and cross the road,” he said. “It’s really not safe in its current condition.”

The same thing could be said about the island on Highway 9, he said.

“I’ve received complaints before from members of the public, saying they couldn’t get through on their wheelchair,” he said. “That’s definitely the goal of these improvements.”

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