Traversing the railway tracks on Hazel Avenue is a much smoother experience for motorists now that the bulk of a $120,000 project to smooth out the crossing is mostly completed.
The crossing had become notorious for pushing vehicles’ suspensions to their limits and jarring drivers and passengers alike, especially when crossing at anything faster than walking speed.
“It was a serious speed bump,” joked Ken Quackenbush, the town’s director of environmental services.
“It’s so much better now than it was.”
Council unanimously approved the project in July and the vast majority of the work is now finished, save for the possible addition of some asphalt next spring.
In order to install the new panels that level out the spaces between the rails, work crews had to tear out the material that had previously been in place.
“To do all that,” Quackenbush explained, “they had to cut the road, so there’s a small gap on each side of those panels and then between the rail lines.”
For now, the gap between the lines has been filled with cold mix, which will remain in place over the winter. The municipality will decide next spring whether or not to fill the gap more permanently with asphalt.
“It’s too late in the season now to get asphalt,” Quackenbush said, noting that the cold mix seems to be working just fine for the time being and may not even need to be replaced in the spring, depending on conditions.
The municipality paid about $30,000 for the concrete slabs and hired workers with Canadian National Railway to do the installation work, said town manager George Krefting. The approved expenditure of up to $120,000 is to come from the municipality’s general cash reserves and the actual amount spent is to be recovered in 2012 with funding from the Government of Alberta’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI).
Quackenbush said he is confident the project will be completed within the budget.