Road Paving Program
The County of Grande Prairie maintains a network of more than 3,600 km of paved and gravel roads. Our region continues to expand and roads continue to age and the County works hard to maintain as many roadways as possible; however, must work within the annual capital roads projects budget and the bi-annual divisional road construction projects budget.
Here is the breakdown on how County schedules what roads are paved, when they will be paved and why.
There are two main ways our roads are scheduled for paving. A road will either be classified as an annual road construction project or classified as part of the divisional road construction program.
The annual road construction projects are selected with the following factors taken into careful consideration – the age of each of the roads, the current state of each of the roads, the amount of traffic each road receives, the type of traffic that travels each road, and the cost of each of the projects. They are charted on the County's 10-year Road Network Plan based on the factors above. Many of the roads being paved throughout the County and in Clairmont specifically are developer driven and funded; which means developers have agreed as a condition of subdivision approval with the County that they will pave their roads if they are building a new subdivision or expanding an existing subdivision.
Divisional Road Construction Projects are selected by the Public Works department in consultation with the Area Councillor and within the divisional boundaries where the roads are located. Every two years, each division receives the equivalent of 1.5 miles of paving in funds for road improvements. Those funds may be used, upon the Public Works department recommendations and at the area Councillor's request, to rebuild an existing gravel road or to upgrade a gravel road to pavement. An increase to 2 miles bi-annually per division is being brought to 2015 budget deliberations for Council's approval.
The cost to pave a gravel road is roughly $1 million per 1.6 km (1 mile). When a gravel road is scheduled to be upgraded to pavement there are many preliminary steps that must be taken before the paving process can begin.
Here are the steps road construction crews must take before a gravel road can be paved:
- Remove topsoil and other debris from the road's Right of Way before plowing down the existing road to the width of the new subgrade (the dirt portion of the road structure)
- Haul in clay and compact the road surface to build up the subgrade
- Install/replace culverts as required
- Perform the final surface preparation by compacting the road to ensure the correct crown and width
- Perform base work by placing new gravel and compacting it for final grade
- Spray to provide better adhesion to the pavement and to protect this base layer from the weather
- Lay down asphalt in the required thickness of the road (ranges from 40 mm to 200 mm) and compact asphalt
- Line paint newly paved road
Furthermore, all work done to the County Road Network, whether it is a capital project, divisional road project, or a developer requirement, are designed, and managed by a professional engineering consultant. All road projects must meet the County's Minimum Design Standards and Alberta Transportation's Highway Design and Construction standards.
If you have any questions about road projects please contact the Public Works department at 780-532-9722.