By Collin Gallant on August 12, 2017.
After a year of positioning by Medicine Hat and Cypress County councils, repairs for South Boundary Road are on the way this month under a new cost-sharing agreement.
Bids to smooth, resurface and slightly widen the road on Medicine Hat’s southern edge — which leads to the county community of Desert Blume — were examined in early August.
That information was presented to city council Tuesday, showing a $250,000 county contribution toward the $1.65-million budget.
That follows a year of back-and-forth about the quality of the road and which jurisdiction’s residents benefited most.
Mayor Ted Clugston said following the meeting that both sides had valid concerns but a fair resolution will see work go ahead.
“(The agreement) recognizes that this is a city road and the City of Medicine Hat’s responsibility, but also that county residents do use it,” he said.
“They are also business owners in the city and we take their concerns seriously.
“I’ve driven the road — it’s a piece of junk, and something needed to be done. I think we’ve come to a fair compromise.”
Coun. Julie Friesen said the city and county have had a good working relationship in the past and that continues with the agreement.
County Coun. Richard Oster, who represents the area, said most county hamlets are connected by highways or other roads under provincial jurisdiction.
Desert Blume however, is accessed by Range Road 61A that mainly feeds South Boundary. As such, he said, the hamlet’s transportation planning needs some special consideration.
“It’s an important road for both Cypress County and the city,” he said Friday. “A majority of council agreed that it’s important from just an access standpoint.”
Aecon Transportation presented the winning bid of $1.45 million among three submitted. Work is expected to be completed by the end of September.
It will aim to restore and smooth the rippled road surface, widen the stretch to a uniform eight metres (about two feet wider than at present), and improve drainage.
“It’s an arterial road that’s a rural design,” said infrastructure commissioner Stan Schwartzenberger “It was deemed ready for work.
“It will result in better sightlines, better drainage and a smoother carriageway — but it is not designed for pedestrians.”
He said a V-ditch configuration eliminates the possibility of adding much wider shoulders, as well as a separated path.
Administrators from both jurisdictions would discuss path development during next year’s updates to the Intermunicipal Development plan, said Schwartzenberger.
The entire $1.65-million budget includes about $100,000 already spent on engineering work.
Expanding the road to a four-lane arterial road west past Southridge Drive appears in the city’s 10-year construction outlook as an $11-million project, tentatively slated for 2023.
Administrators say the current work will extend the life of the road by 20 years. They have previously said a build out to four lanes is contingent on population growth that is not expected until after 2025.
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