A row of black pipes now jutting out on Elm Street, combined with groups of construction workers hard at work this summer, means some major infrastructure projects are underway in downtown Sudbury, one of more than 20 that the city hopes to complete by winter. .
Brittany Hallam, director of the city’s linear infrastructure services, said improvements to the city’s water systems are causing traffic jams and a serpentine path that hugs sidewalks.
It’s a process known as “relining,” Hallam said.
“In Sudbury, we generally make fully-structured plumbing,” Hallam said. “It’s an alternative to a full plumbing replacement. It is an epoxy impregnated woven polyester fiber that is pulled through a hose and cured with hot water or steam.
“Once it’s done, it’s like a pipe within a pipe. It’s completely structural, so with a pipe around it, the existing waterline could fail and that waterline liner would still be intact.
Instead of demolishing an entire roadway, in this case a busy downtown street, crews dug “pits” in the sidewalk so the surfacing could be replaced.
One of the advantages of rehabilitating highways over completely replacing them is the minimal impact on traffic once construction begins.
“The advantage of lining a water pipe is that because they are small potholes, they can actually place structural steel bar plates on top and open lanes to the public during times of heavy traffic,” Hallam said.
“They actually do most of their work at night on Elm Street to reduce the impact on traffic.”
Overall, relining has become a cost-effective way for the city to replace aging infrastructure. Hallam estimates that they rebuild about a mile of pipe every year.
On its website, the city lists 24 other projects to replace or rebuild the city’s water systems, including high-traffic roads such as Paris Street, Lorne Street, Highway 536 and Kingsway.
Legacy infrastructure focused on advocacy group
At a recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference, the group’s statement highlighted the need for federal and provincial funding to help fix the city’s aging infrastructure.
“Much of this infrastructure was first built in the 1950s and 1960s and needs to be upgraded or replaced to continue to serve our communities, provide access to social and economic opportunity, and protect the environment,” says the communicated.
“Population growth in parts of Ontario is fueling demand for new investment. Infrastructure systems must be constantly assessed, tested, managed, and maintained to maximize lifecycle value.
The group said cities can rely on several different sources of additional funding.
At the federal level, municipalities can use the Canadian Community Development Fund and Investment Canada. The province also provides funding through Ontario’s Gas Tax for Public Transit program and the Ontario Public Infrastructure Fund.