A long-term plan to address stability issues along Lakeshore Road is on city staff’s wish list for the new year.
Concerns regarding the stability of Lakeshore Road, between 10th and 20th Avenue NE, were raised recently with council in relation to a development variance permit application. The city was asked to waive a requirement to extend the storm sewer main on 16th Street NE to service the east end of a Lakeshore Road property. City staff cautioned against this request, referring to a 2017 geotechnical report on Lakeshore Road that concluded, “this urban collector street continues to be undermined by a variety of sub-surface conditions and is in need of short-term repairs and extensive rehabilitation.”
Council supported staff in requiring the storm drainage and, at the Nov. 13 council meeting, the 2017 highlights from the report were brought back to council for information, in addition to notification from engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen that staff will be bringing items for the 2019 budget to “mitigate risk to the existing areas of concern such as leak detection for the existing watermain as well as further investigation into a long-term strategy in the form of a cost/benefit analysis of the different mitigation options.”
The 2017 report, prepared by Fletcher Paine Associates, was conducted in response to see what was causing cracking and other issues with the road. In it, Lakeshore Road is broken up into four areas between 10th and 20th, with each area assessed for public safety and risk of failure. Three of the areas were classified as low-risk in the short-term, with one of them being medium in the long-term. One area, just to the south of 17th Avenue NE, was classified as medium to high risk in the short term, both to public safety and of “catastrophic failure.”
Niewenhuizen explained groundwater issues are the main concern behind the issues recognized in the report.
“So what we need to do now is we need to look at some options for what to do next and that’s going to be proposed… for 2019 for the engineering component of it,” said Niewenhuizen. “So basically, to hire a consultant to give us some ideas of what we need to do.”
Niewenhuizen said the city has seen slippages along Lakeshore Road over the past few years, with intense rain storms and snowfall being contributing factors.
“I think we’re just getting to a point now where we have to be more cautious of it and, from staff’s perspective, that’s why we did this initial report and we’re just going to continue on with the next steps to make sure we have a plan in place that we can follow,” said Niewenhuizen. “Because right now we’ve been doing lots of remediations along that roadway just to make sure it doesn’t get worse. But we have to look at the big picture.”
As one option for mitigation, the 2017 report suggests moving a portion of Lakeshore Road away from the embankment leading down to the railway by up to eight metres.