With the smoother flow of traffic into the downtown area of Sylvan Lake along 50th Street, it’s clear that work to repair a water main has been completed. All that remains to be done to restore the street to the way it was before, is the repaving of the work site.
“Once we identified the location [of the leak], after some detective work, the construction went pretty quickly,” said Joanne Gaudet, Communications Officer with the Town of Sylvan Lake. “We will be putting down pavement, probably starting the first week of June, barring any weather issues.”
Gaudet said the cause of the water main leak was symptomatic of an issue that many communities with aging underground infrastructure regularly have to contend with. Repairs to water mains are a routine kind of maintenance that many municipalities plan for, she noted.
“That’s why you see these kinds of underground projects going on, like with what’s going on, on 48th Avenue, and what we saw with Lakeshore Drive, driving west, last year,” said Gaudet. “It’s an ongoing process that we have in place, and it’s reflected in our budget and capital projects.”
Although the work on the water main on 50th Street faced some setbacks with an incident of vandalism occurring, Gaudet said the problem was addressed before it became a major impediment to the repair of the water main. That being said, she noted that the damage incurred by the vandalism could have caused far more significant issues, if it hadn’t been caught as quickly as it was.
“[Public Works] put a temporary line in there, and it’s a pretty significant cost. It’s covered by insurance, so it won’t reflect on taxpayers, but [the damage] put us back, as far as time is concerned,” said Gaudet. “We had a number of homes without water, and one that was even flooded as a result of it.”
Gaudet added that the disrupted water service isn’t just an inconvenience, and that “when someone doesn’t have access to water, and they’re not given advance notice, it’s not an inconvenience – it’s a potential health and safety issue.”
Despite the potential for further damage to the bypass line and adverse effects on the safety and timelines of the project, the damage from the vandalism was promptly rectified, and any major consequences were avoided.
Even though the construction timeline was slightly delayed, “once we identified the location of the water main leak, we were in and out pretty quickly, and we reopened access to that road in a pretty remarkable amount of time,” said Gaudet.