Lorne Street Stormwater Mitigation Project Phase II Update

UPDATE: February 8, 2019

We’re making great progress on Phase II of our Lorne Street Stormwater Mitigation Project! Here is an update on what’s taken place over the last two weeks and what we expect in the weeks ahead.

We had a very positive construction meeting and update with the contractor and our consulting engineers on February 7, 2019. The contractor, Birch Hill Construction, has now finished almost 30% of the pond! Despite the wild weather, they’re making great progress. You can see some of the completed sections near the service road on St. James Street. You can also see the tree stands that will form the islands that the landscape architect suggested we kept as part of the naturalization of the stormwater pond. The contractor has been working strategically on the excavation, which has allowed them to move around the site and dig in sections, but still manage the material and get it trucked out for disposal. This strategy will continue over the next several weeks.

We’re now heading into the second week of February, and despite Shubenacadie Sam’s prediction, we have been experiencing warmer temperatures. Given that this project relies on frost, and cold nights, the contractor will be working on Saturday, February 9, 2019 to take advantage of the forecasted temperatures.

Moving forward, the contractor will also be trucking material at night. Commencing on Monday, February 11, 2019, they will be trucking material out of the construction site starting at 3am. This work simply entails one excavator loading dump trucks, with material being trucked via Lorne Street. Again, this is necessary because it’s so cold at that time of night. Therefore, despite the project moving at a great pace, we recognize that the temperature is changing, so we need to take advantage of the cold days and nights as much as possible to ensure that the project stays on track.

We want to remind the public that as the temperatures warm-up, the contractor will continue to drive frost into the ground when it’s cold. This may require some operations throughout the night (because it’s at its coldest period), which will consist of a bulldozer tracking back and forth, literally, possibly dragging large tires for additional weight. This is an essential part of the project.

Over the last two weeks, we’re also been working with Ducks Unlimited Canada on their wetland conservation project for the northside of St. James Street – directly across from the excavation that’s currently taking place. Ducks Unlimited is hopeful that they can take advantage of the excavation and use some of the material for their small berm that needs to be constructed to retain water. Getting the material on to the northside of St. James Street is also, you guessed it – weather dependent. A Conservation Agreement is needed to authorize the work on Town property (which needs Council approval), and other permitting will be necessary which Ducks Unlimited is aware of and will be responsible for. While some of the material could be used to construct their berm, Ducks Unlimited will need to do more work this summer to complete the project. We’re very happy to have Ducks Unlimited as a partner – a partnership that has been incredibly successful on our Waterfowl Park. We’ll provide further updates as this part of the project takes shape.

As noted in our last update, the material leaving the site will be trucked to one of two disposal sites; Queens Road – near Frosty Hollow (Civic No. 283), or Crossman Road – near Charlotte Street (Civic No. 102). To date, the contractor has only utilized the disposal site on Queens Road. However, they may use the other site if they need to take advantage of the freezing temperatures, which would allow them to use one site while the material at the other is freezing and alternate between the two sites. Both sites were approved by the Southeast Regional Service Commission. The contractor is aware of the school zones and the peak periods at our local schools, and our engineering consultants are continuing to monitor the truck routes regularly.

The material leaving the construction site and being disposed of at the approved locations will stay at those locations. Any material that we need to shape and line the stormwater pond will stay on the construction site and be managed there throughout the project. The Certificate of Determination issued as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment indicates that we need to re-use the material, where practical, to avoid importing invasive species to the project site. The top organic layer is the material that we’ll be re-using.

Trucks will be leaving the site via Lorne Street, and then on to Queens Road for one site, and from Queens Road to Fairfield Road and then on to Crossman Road for the other. The contractor did have to use a portion of St. James Street, in order to access the eastern area of the pond near the service road, but this section of the pond is now complete. The contractor will also likely utilize the bottom half of St. James Street when they’re working on the slopes that are close to the street when they get to that point. We’re fortunate that St. James Street still has lots of frost in it right now, and it was designed to handle heavy truck traffic.

We can’t stress enough that this project is largely weather dependent, and we’ve already had our challenges; snow, rain, freezing temperatures, warm temperatures – you name it, we’ve had it. The weather will continue to change the soil conditions, but hopefully it will stay cold and we’ll have enough frost so that the site stays stable for the needed equipment. Depending on the weather, we’ll have to work with the contractor to ensure that the construction site is safe, but that work continues.

One other change that the contractor made this week was moving the location of the temporary construction office. It is now tucked in behind Atlantic Towing, so it is closer to the excavation site. This office is monitored 24 hours a day and strict safety protocols are in place. Despite moving the office, equipment may continue to arrive at the former Charles Street site, so the entire area is still to be considered a construction site. As a result, the service roads between Charles Street and St. James Street, and Crescent Street and St. James Street, are currently closed to pedestrians.

So, what can you expect over the next few weeks? You got it – more digging, and lots of it, with the material being trucked out for disposal.

We want to continue to remind residents that this is a short-term solution, but it allows us to make significant improvements with the funding that is available. The long-term plan remains unchanged, which will eventually see stormwater redirected to a new lower aboiteau at the Tantramar River (near our Engineering and Public Works facility) via a new large drainage ditch. This work will only be possible with future funding. Until the long-term goal is achieved, this area of our community will still be vulnerable to flooding.

We’re very excited and pleased with the work undertaken on Phase II so far. Again, we want to sincerely thank our residents and business community for their continued support and understanding with this project.

Stay tuned for future updates as work progresses.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Jamie Burke, Senior Manager of Corporate Projects, at 364-4930 or j.burke@sackville.com.