I was going to send out a photo update of the construction project that is Algoma Street. Then I came across Johnson Street. Algoma Street will have to wait.
Johnson Avenue runs between Bay Street and John Street. Its about 2 blocks long. It is right behind Renco Foods. It is not a busy street and probably sees mostly local traffic. Few large trucks.
These are photos of some of the cracks. There are more. Sidewalks and curb and gutters have issues. As you can see from the date of the manhole cover, this street was reconstructed in 2006. Only five years ago!
When I reached the intersection of Johnson Avenue and John Street, I noticed cracks on John Street that have been sealed. I assume this is the method that the City is trying out to try and keep the street from deteriorating farthur. John Street was also reconstructed in 2006, probably part of the same contract as Johnson Avenue. Crack sealing after only five years!!
John Street, although it appears to be only five years old is already costing the taxpayers money for maintenance. Actually, the road looks like it is already on its way to the Rehabilitation Phase of the Pavement Assessment Management System. This proposed system was covered at the last open house dealing with the future budgets. A street that should last at least 20 – 30 years is having serious issues after only five years.Pages 34 – 36 from Powerpoint presentation
Simply throwing more money at the problem, a favourite pastime of the Waterfront Development Office I might add, does not ensure the elimination of the infrastructure deficit any time soon. It all boils down to good management practices and contractor competence. The people in charge of the Engineering Department are wasting millions of dollars a year by accepting sub-standard construction work and a sub-standard product. Its that simple.
The City of Thunder Bay Engineering Department should be monitoring finished contracts and learn what worked and what did not. Simply removing cracked pavement and replacing it with fresh asphalt will not stop the cracks from reappearing in a few years. The problem is in the ground. The causes of pavement deformation needs to be investigated prior to awarding the contract. We need to know what is wrong so it can be fixed. Right now, nobody is trying to find out what is wrong. I believe that the people in charge of the Engineering Department know almost nothing about road construction.
If you want good roads, the City of Thunder Bay will need to hire people that know road building. Also, the practice of always accepting the lowest bid is a mistake. We are hiring unqualified companies to build our streets because they are cheap. Better companies stopped bidding on City contracts because they assumed, with good reason, that the City of Thunder Bay is not interested in quality work. Its all about price.
I still believe that it would be better to reconstruct fewer kilometres of city streets but build them to a higher standard. Finish them the same year you start them. Paving and all!! More is not better. Better is better.
Until our Engineering Department can produce streets that last longer than a couple of years before they start to deteriorate, then giving them any more money is a waste.