Road reconstruction


Have you ever wondered what goes into a road reconstruction project? Why do some projects take longer than other to complete? What steps need to be taken to bring a worn road back to life and ensure it's capable or handling more traffic? How do underground pipes factor into a reconstruction project?

We've compiled the following list of questions we receive most frequently about our road reconstruction projects - as well as the answers - to help address your queries.

What does a road reconstruction project involve?

The term 'road reconstruction' can be misleading; with most projects, much more than the existing road is removed and replaced. Multiple types of infrastructure - including buried pipes, cabling and structures beneath the road - are also replaced or repaired.

Usually, each system includes a main distribution line - known as 'the main' - that runs along the length of the road, and smaller individual supply lines - called 'service connections' - that branch off from the main line to each property. Not all properties subscribe to each available service, so some do not require all of the service connections.

These systems are independent, and provide you the following types of services:

  • Clean water, supplied by a water main
  • Dirty water removal, provided by a sanitary sewer main
  • Rainwater, groundwater and snowmelt water removal, provided by a storm sewer main
  • Natural gas supply, provided by a gas main
  • Electricity supply, provided by electrical cabling, conduits, ducts and chambers (if not supplied from overhead poles and wires)
  • Telecommunications services (e.g. telephone, television, Internet), provided by telecom cabling, conduits, ducts and chambers (if not supplied from overhead poles and wires).

A reconstruction project may involve the replacement or repair of either all or some of these utilities, depending on the condition of each line. As well, the soil under the road surface may be removed and replaced if it is deemed unsuitable for further use.

Once all of this work is complete, the surface features of the roadway are reconstructed. This includes the road, curb and gutter, and sidewalk. Clean gravel is placed and compacted from 15 cm. to one meter below the surface, providing a solid base for the new road, curb, and sidewalk.

Why does the city do this work?

There are two major reasons for us to carry out reconstruction work:

  1. The infrastructure within the road allowance may be old and past its operational lifespan, which is typically 70 to 100 years for older infrastructure. After that period of time passes, and depending on how much use the infrastructure receives, parts will begin to wear, break and fail. Our goal is to replace these aging assets before they fail to protect you from interrupted service, as well as our own municipal assets.
  2. The older infrastructure - whether it's a road or a pipe - may be too small to handle higher volumes that come with growth. This infrastructure must be made larger to accommodate the increased use and demand.

How are these projects carried out?

We do not have our own road reconstruction crews and equipment. We contract this work out to private construction companies that are awarded contracts through a competitive bidding process.

The planning, design, management and day-to-day control over a project is done by either:

  • Our own staff as a complete in-house operation, or
  • A private engineering consulting firm, who is awarded the contract through a competitive bidding process. City staff are still included on the consultant's project team, and we still have the final say on how the project proceeds.

How will this work affect me?

Unfortunately, work of this nature can disturb nearby residents and businesses in several ways.

  • Reconstruction projects require heavy equipment, which can generate noise, vibration, fumes and dust.
  • Work sites are considered hazardous during construction, so we fence them off for your protection. Please do not enter these areas.
  • You may lose vehicular access to your street and driveway for a period of time. If you're affected this way, we will issue you a temporary parking permit that will allow you to park your vehicle on a nearby side street until your access is restored.
  • Garbage collection will continue, with the construction crews picking up your garbage instead of the usual sanitation crews.
  • If water main and water service connections are being replaced, a temporary water supply line will be extended to your house to ensure minimal service interruption.
  • We will do our best to minimize damage to trees or other vegetation.

A project's heavy construction phase generally lasts from six to 18 weeks, depending on the scope and difficulty of the work. However, please keep in mind unpredictable circumstances beyond our control, such as poor weather, may slow down the work and extend the time required to complete the project.

Please be prepared and patient if work is scheduled to take place in your area. We apologize for the inconvenience.

How is a project paid for?

We have several sources of funding to pay for reconstruction projects:

  • Our property-tax base
  • User fees (i.e. your water bill) for projects that include rebuilding water and sewer mains
  • Other utilities, such as natural gas, electrical, and telecommunications, pay for their portions of the reconstruction based on the amount of work done to their infrastructure during the project.

How can I get involved in a project?

There are several opportunities for you to provide input on our reconstruction projects.

We highly recommend providing input as early as possible in a proposed project's planning and design stage. Making changes to a project once the actual work begins is much more difficult - or even impossible.

During the design and planning phase, several public meetings held by the project design and management team, to give the community an opportunity to provide input. Members of the project planning, design and management team will be on hand to discuss the project and answer questions. Your ward councillor may also be present to receive your input.

A city authority, such as the designated project manager, city engineer or your ward councillor, will be designated as your main point of contact for the project. However, we recommend contacting the project manager with questions or comments, since he or she has the most intimate and current knowledge of the work. A list of contacts, including the designated project manager, will be distributed to affected residents prior to the start of the project.

Contact Us