The Town of Irricana is installing a new sewer system and pipeline this summer and fall, resulting in the closure of Sixth Street from First Avenue extending to Third Avenue while upgrades are underway.
Residents living on Sixth Street are able to access their homes via a back alley. However, guests to these homes may be impacted by the road closure.
The Town’s public works staff have been working on the project for a while and they are currently working on replacing the water line. The project is expected to be completely wrapped up by the end of September, according to Jim Bryson, Irricana’s mayor.
Last fall, an engineering firm used ground-penetrating technology to investigate the sewer system throughout Irricana, and discovered the Sixth Street sewer was undersized. Additionally, the slope of the sewer was not up to code and the pipe itself was beginning to fail structurally, according to Bryson. The engineering firm recommended the pipe be replaced before the pipe and system collapsed.
Bryson said it was critical the sewer is replaced because if left alone, the pipe would crumble within four years, resulting in a much more expensive repair in the future.
Additionally, to avoid a potential disaster in winter, Bryson said the Town decided to be proactive and fix the pipes before they broke. The mayor added that a winter fix would be much more expensive and even more of an inconvenience to Irricana residents.
Currently, the impact on those living on Sixth Street has been minor, apart from not being able to drive down or park along the roadway.
“Nobody’s been without sewer or water,” Bryson said. “There was a water shut off for 12 hours one day. Other than that, everybody’s been temporarily fed water so there’s been no inconvenience.”
The cost of construction has added up to over $1 million but grants obtained by the Town's chief administrative officer Barrie Hutchinson have completely covered the cost of the repairs, Bryson added, meaning the Town of Irricana’s budget was not impacted.
The municipality decided to investigate the pipes because the sewer system has never been looked into before, and the Town had excess funds remaining from a completed project on the north end of town.
“The engineering firm did a complete 10-year restoration of our sewers in the older part of town and prioritizing what needed to be done first and then second, etc.,” Bryson said.
Irricana residents can expect more sewer updates to come in the future.
“We’ll be putting together a 10-year plan schedule according to that [engineering report] to try and get all the sewers and everything done and then once that’s done, we’ll go to the newer parts of town,” Bryson explained.