Unprecedented infrastructure improvements

2012-06-11

Last summer all of Hampstead's roads were evaluated. Recommendations were made about what type of repairs should be done on the roads in need of work. Some roads require total reconstruction; others require scarification (removal of the top asphalt) to a depth of 90mm or 40mm and repaving, and others just crack sealing. Most of the recommended work will be done this summer. Here is what you can expect.

Roadwork 2012

About five years ago we totally rebuilt Fleet from Finchley to Queen Mary. This greatly reduced the vibration problem that had plagued homeowners in the area for decades. Now, the same comprehensive reconstruction will be done for the rest of Fleet, from Queen Mary to the Côte Saint-Luc border and from MacDonald to Finchley. The work should last for 20-25 years.

Most of Queen Mary will be totally reconstructed, as well, with the exception of parts done in the last few years, and a few other sections that are in good shape. Netherwood from Ferncroft to Applewood will be scarified to 90mm and repaved. A variety of other blocks will be scarified to 40mm and repaved. Finally, numerous roads will get crack sealing. This will extend the life of those roads and it is something that the town intends to do every few years.

By going out to tenders early and by combining many projects into one large one, we got several bids with the lowest one, of $4.5 million, being below our estimated cost. We will be paying for the work with money obtained from the sale of the fire station property. Had we borrowed the money, the interest and principal repayments would have been about $287,000 annually and even higher if interest rates rise, as they are expected to. We do not have to borrow for the Roads Project because we are using the funds from the fire station sale.

In fact, we will not be using all of the fire station proceeds for infrastructure work. In 2013, we will retire debt that will save the town $90,000 in debt service costs.

Other infrastructure work

As has been the case for the last few years, we will continue to rehabilitate our water mains. Most of the cost will come from grants. The work done to date has reduced water main break claims considerably but there is still work to do. By the end of 2012, we will probably have rehabilitated a greater percentage of our water mains than any other city or town on the island.

We also intend to redo more sidewalk sections this summer, in conjunction with the roadwork. You probably have not noticed, but we have placed an identifying number on every lamp post, so that you or Public Security can call in the exact location if a lamp post is not functioning. Another thing that you probably have not seen is the aerial wires that go from one lamp post to another. These were due to temporary fixes over many decades and there are now over 160 of them. Imagine the chaos if we have another ice storm or a severe windstorm and numerous wires break. We will fix as many of these as possible, by putting the wires in conduits underground.

Why so much work in one summer?

The work is necessary. We have the funds thanks to the sale of the fire station. There is no point in keeping the money in the bank when interest rates are so low. Having the foundation of a solid infrastructure ensures lower costs in the future. We will have fewer water main breaks, reduced pothole repairs, less overtime costs and a more pleasant town.

If you have any comments suggestions, or questions on this topic or anything else related to Hampstead, please e-mail me at wsteinberg@hampstead.qc.ca or call me 7 days a week until midnight at my home office at 514 483-6954.


Sincerely,


Dr. Bill Steinberg
Mayor, Town of Hampstead