Foothills cuts millions from cost of road upgrade
Millarville: Improvements planned for access to racetrack
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 06:00 am
Officials with the MD of Foothills were able to shave millions off the cost of fixing a busy road in the Millarville area.
On March 13 Foothills council approved a $1.37 million plan to repair and resurface the Racetrack Road between Black Diamond and the Millarville Racetrack over the next three years.
After an earlier plan to completely rebuild and pave the 11 km road at a cost $6.7 million was revealed in 2011, MD officials went back to the drawing board to find a less expensive option.
Work will begin this summer on the project which includes a 5.5 km section of the road immediately north of Black Diamond to just south of the racetrack entrance. The first half of the road will be resurfaced this year and the second half next year. The MD will apply a chip seal surface in 2015.
MD Coun. Barb Castell is happy the MD was able to find a way to make some improvements to the road, without costing the $6.7 million first suggested.
“It will be a good thing in the long run and I’m thrilled that we’re not going to be paying a fortune for the road,” she said.
Castell said she has heard complaints from people about the poor condition of the road, particularly on the section close to Black Diamond.
“Every year I get calls on that it’s lumpy,” she said.
The work will also allow the road to be paved at some point in the future.
Existing weight restrictions on the road will remain in place and area farmers and ranchers can obtain a road use permit for heavier loads when needed. MD council turned down a second option that would have cost $2 million and would have allowed trucks with heavier loads to use the road.
Castell said the construction could effect people traveling from Black Diamond to the weekly Millarville Farmer’s Market, many of whom use the road.
“It will impact them, but it has to get done,” she said.
Castell said there are other routes people can take in the area to bypass the construction, such as Highway 22 from Turner Valley or Secondary Highway 549 from Okotoks.
Bill Jackson, president of the Millarville Racing and Agricultural Society, said the construction will be an inconvenience for people going to and from the weekly Millarville market, but it will be good once the work is complete.
“I feel it will be a great plus to us to have that road improved,” he said.
Jackson said he now wants to ensure the construction will start after the society’s second annual half marathon on June 15.
“We’re looking at possibly between 600 to 700 runners this year and it’s on the 15th of June so we would dearly love this project to start on the 16th,” he said.
Hugh Pettigrew, MD deputy director of public works, said the work will start sometime in June or July, depending on how wet the spring weather is this year.
He said he took great lengths to review the work that had been proposed to make sure it was appropriate, but also didn’t break the MD’s bank.
“I think this is a great initiative from public works to bring the potential costs down,” said Pettigrew.