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Home News City admin says more funding needed to put dent in paving backlog

City admin says more funding needed to put dent in paving backlog

City admin says more funding needed to put dent in paving backlog
City workers finish a paving project on Dier Rd in October 2018. -- Herald file photo.

City officials say council will have to raise the paving base tax if it wants to keep the condition of Prince Albert’s roads from further deteriorating.

Administration measures the conditions of city roads with a statistic called the Paving Quality Index (PQI). Their data shows Prince Albert’s PQI was 74 in 2005, but has since deteriorated to 67 in 2020. A rating of 100 is perfect.

Capital Projects Manager Nykole Miller said the bulk of that decline came between 2006 and 2012, when paving funding was “less than the minimum” needed. In some years, like 2010, council provided no funding for road repairs.

Miller said that changed in 2013, when council introduced a road paving base tax, something she called a great decision. However, she added that Prince Albert’s PQI is still a concern, and council will need provide more roadway funding if it wants to make additional progress.

The city currently has 115 km of roadway that is below the PQI paving threshold. Ideally, repair work would begin before a road deteriorates to that level. In 2019, city employees repaved, rehabilitated or rebuilt 6.8 km of roadway. At current funding levels, it will take 17 years to repair all the roads that need work right now.

“This is resulting in the PQI falling exponentially,” Miller told council during Monday’s executive committee meeting. “It’s like trying to stop a speeding train going down a hill.”

The minimum PQI changes depending on how frequently a road gets used. City employees try to repair residential roads before they hit 50 PQI, while major roads like Arterials will be repaired when they hit 65 PQI.

Prince Albert’s residential roads are in the toughest condition. They have a combined PQI in the low 60s.

There are 21 km of Prince Albert roadway that is so deteriorated it needs to be reconstructed. That’s about 142 city blocks. All of those roads are in residential areas.

Conditions on collector roads have actually improved since 2005, going from 69 PQI to 76 PQI, while Arterial roads have decreased from the low 80s to the mid 70s.

The City’s paving base tax hasn’t changed since 2013. On average, it generates around $4.05-million per year. The City currently has a paving backlog of $45-million. In 2006, that backlog was $27-million.

Miller said they can improve the City’s PQI by increasing annual roadway paving program funding from $4.235-million to $4.5-million. An $11 increase in the paving base tax would allow the City to repair two more blocks in 2021. A $22 increase would allow them to pave four additional blocks.

City council voted to receive and file the information. Changes to roadway funding programs are typically made during budget meetings November.