For more than five years, the Town of Kapuskasing has spent millions in road repairs.
This year, the municipality will complete its 600-metre sidewalk project on St. Lawrence Street, and begin to resurface three others through its street paving program.
“We do a few streets every year,” said Yves Labelle, manager of public works. “It's an ongoing project and we try to keep up to it every year.”
Some streets lacking attention had begun to deteriorate, crumble and crack because of heavy use and cold winters.
“It doesn't take long for it to happen, and it's a struggle,” said Labelle. “For many years, the town didn't have the money.”
With the help of money from the government fuel tax, Kapuskasing was able to start a program specifically geared to keep a close watch on its streets. Since then, portions of streets have been repaired every year, averaging about a kilometre a year, said Labelle.
Kapuskasing has also changed its road design to incorporate a more standardized look, similar to larger urban centres. When streets go under construction, the widths are being narrowed down from 13 metres to 10 metres.
“In the older sections of town, you have sidewalks on both sides,” said Labelle. “We're trying to eliminate one of the sidewalks.”
In its place, they've added bicycle lanes. The new design now allows for pedestrians to walk safely on one side and cyclists on the other.
“We're putting parking on one side only too,” he added. “So there's two traffic lanes and one parking lane.”
The sidewalk completion on St. Lawrence served as a separate project from the street paving program.
The first phase of the project began last year, with work on the water and sewer and the first layer of asphalt. The second will complete the project, add the second layer, construct the sidewalk, and add landscaping.
“It was a question of infrastructure,” said Labelle. “We had an old lift station we wanted to get rid of. By doing this street, we're able to do just that.”
In the last five years, the town has seen more than $50 million spent on local infrastructure, including a new water tower, water treatment plant, and upgrades to the existing waste water treatment plant.
The town is also in the engineering stages for a new lift station near the intersection of Golf Street and Highway 11 to replace two older existing stations, slated for removal.
“It's under design right now,” said Labelle. “We're planning construction for next year, or the following year, depending on the funds.”
With a combined project price tag of $4 million, at the same time, parts of Golf Street will be rebuilt with new sewers and water mains.