The road improvements on Northfield Drive didn’t look much like improvements to drivers who found the road pocked and cratered with potholes to start the week.
The Region of Waterloo is resurfacing a number of rural roads, including a stretch of Northfield Drive from the Waterloo boundary to the south limits of Conestogo. The work involves pulverizing the existing asphalt, adding gravel and new asphalt cement to create an asphalt mat, and then adding two layers of fresh asphalt over top. Usually only a kilometre or so of road is pre-pulverized at a time, ahead of the asphalt train that mixes the asphalt and gravel into a mat.
The problem, said project manager Mike Henderson, was that the entire stretch was pre-pulverized before the train arrived.
“When you get a lot of rain on the pre-pulverized road, it tends to destabilize a bit,” he said. “They got all 2.32 kilometres pre-pulverized, but the subcontractor wasn’t able to come in and the weather turned bad. They kind of dropped the ball a little bit on that and it resulted in the residents and the passersby having a rough ride that Monday morning.”
A grader was kept busy smoothing out the mess, and Henderson said they shouldn’t have that problem with the rest of the work. The region has requested that the contractor, Steed and Evans, schedule the work more closely so they don’t get too far ahead of the asphalt train that creates the mat.
The stretch south of Conestogo is one of six sections of roadway totalling 22 kilometres that is slated for resurfacing this fall. The $8.8-million project was tendered in late August after the region received infrastructure stimulus funding from the senior levels of government. The cost will be split evenly, with the federal, provincial and regional governments each picking up one third of the tab.
The region is trying to get the work jump-started this year to take advantage of good pricing and beat other municipalities.
“It’ll be much more difficult to get this work completed next year because all the other municipalities are receiving this money and they’ll want to do this work next year,” Henderson said.
The sections slated for resurfacing are:
- Regional Road 97 in Cambridge between Franklin Boulevard and Shellard Sideroad;
- Northfield Dr. from the Waterloo boundary to the south limit of Conestogo;
- Northfield Dr. north of Conestogo to Scotch Line;
- Northfield Drive from Line 86 to the regional boundary;
- Line 86 from Cox Creek Road to the east boundary of Wellington;
- Katherine St. north of Winterbourne to Line 86.
Existing asphalt will be recycled on all of the roads, and the pavement will be widened to 8.7 metres, allowing for two 3.35-metre lanes and a one-metre paved shoulder on each side.
The timing of the work depends on the completion of another project on Katherine Street, south of Winterbourne. That road has been closed for several weeks and Northfield Drive is part of the detour.
With the asphalt recycling, each stretch of road will only have to be fully closed for a day or two, while the fresh asphalt is applied.
Poor weather has already pushed back the targeted completion date for the project from mid-October to late October or early November. If rain forces more delays, Henderson said, they may hold off on applying surface asphalt until next year.