Update: April 30, 2019
Why can’t Mother Nature head down south for a vacation? While work has been slow with all the wet weather, we’re still making progress on our Lorne Street Stormwater Mitigation Project. Since our last post on April 9, the project timing on some of the work has changed, but despite some obstacles and challenges, we’re continuing to find solutions to keep things on track. Here’s an update on what’s taken place – and what hasn’t – over the last few weeks.
As we noted back in early April, we encountered some contaminated soil on the former CN property. The contractor started excavating the contaminated area on April 10, in anticipation to start loading the material on trucks the following day to take the soil to an approved disposal facility in Memramcook.
Unfortunately, the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) advised our consultants late in the day that they would not allow us to truck material on their service road that runs parallel to the Trans Canada Highway, which is where access is gained into the Memramcook facility. This news was discouraging, especially since trucks were going to abide by DTI’s spring weight restrictions and weather conditions were forecasted to bring a significant amount of rain to our area.
Nonetheless, with some temporary precautionary measures installed by the contractor to keep the stockpiled material dry, we found a solution. The 1,000-1,500 tons of material was transported to another approved disposal facility in Moncton as a short-term option. Although the site is further away, our consultants secured a competitive disposal and trucking rates, which ended up making the resulting cost slightly cheaper.
After all this, we’ve decided that it’s best to wait until the weather dries-up and DTI gives us the ok to truck the remaining 7,500 tons of material on their access road when the weight restrictions are removed, and we can send full truck loads to Memramcook. This will result in additional savings. This work will be undertaken during the day and should take about 2 weeks, depending on the weather. Our consulting team will have an environmental professional onsite to supervise and monitor the excavation of the contaminated soil. As we noted earlier this month, 75% of the total $400,000 cost to clean-up the pocket of contamination will be covered under our existing Clean Water and Wastewater Fund Program. We strongly believe that removing the contaminated soil is the right thing to do considering that we have the funds to deal with it, and the end result will be one less contaminated property in our community.
We also have several other updates on the project.
After securing the necessary approvals associated with the culvert under the CN rail line, the drill team is expected to be on site in the coming days, with work scheduled to start on May 6. The CN crossing is very sophisticated work, with a drill team scheduled to come in from Montreal. As you can expect, the trains need to continue to roll, so our work needs to be carried out in a way that allows CN to continue operations. The drill team will be using a jack and bore process, which means that they will push the culvert under the rail line and then pull the material out from the inside of the culvert once it’s in place. This is expected to take approximately five days. Once this culvert is in place, the contractor will finish the work needed on the southwest side of Crescent Street. After that, the road will need to be resurfaced where it was excavated, which will be completed later in the spring.
While we certainly didn’t experience the snowmelt and rain that other parts of the province did over the last few weeks, we still received a fair bit of rain. Although the contractor has most of the retention pond outlet structure completed, it’s still not physically connected to the pond itself. Therefore, the pond did fill-up with water, but until the contaminated soil and remaining clean soil is removed, and the outlet control structure is connected to the pond, the water has nowhere to go. So, while it may look like the pond is working, it’s just collecting water because the area has been excavated and we have a depression in the ground that didn’t exist before. That said, it may very well have prevented Lorne Street and St. James Street from flooding. While these circumstances may be fortunate, the unfortunate part is that the contractor will have to pump the water out before more excavation can be carried out – unless everything dries up considerably. The contractor tried to prevent water from entering the pond, which was evident with the berms that were put in place by the culverts under St. James Street. In the end, mother nature won this time, and water ended up getting into the pond anyway. This isn’t a big deal; it just means that the water needs to be pumped out unless it evaporates – which is unlikely.
What can you expect over the next few weeks? The CN crossing will be completed, and the remaining ditches connecting the retaining pond to the CN crossing will be finished. Once DTI gives us the ok to start trucking, the contaminated soil and remaining clean soil will be removed, and the pond will be connected to the outlet control structure. The contractor will also be finishing some work on St. James Street, including extending the culverts into the pond and finishing the access road along the south side of the street. Aside from that, the contractor still has some work to do by Russel Metals, which includes a small service road. Then we’re on the home stretch! All of this of course is dependent on Mother Nature being a team player.
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 stormwater management 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.
Clearly, despite the pond being 85% complete some time ago, we’ve had a bit of stickhandling to do to keep the project on track. Thankfully our stickhandling skill are slightly better than those of the Toronto Maple Leafs!
The project continues to move forward and we’re very pleased with the progress made on Phase II so far.
As we’ve noted in previous posts, we want to sincerely thank our residents and business community for their continued support and understanding with this project. This is a big undertaking, and it’s a complex project, but it will be a great addition to our Town when it’s completed.
Stay tuned for future updates as work continues. If you have any questions about this project, please contact Jamie Burke, Senior Manager of Corporate Projects, at 364-4930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.