Three significant street paving projects announced in June will be carried out in September, the Town of Yarmouth says. The three sections of Water Street (Richard’s Lane to Gardner Street), Pleasant Street (Parade to Forest Street), and Forest Street (Main to Park Street) will be paved at the earliest dates available to the contractor, Aberdeen Paving.
The town’s communications co-ordinator, Mike Carter, says the hope was that all three projects would take place no later than mid-summer.
“Many factors come into play when planning paving and road repairs,” he said.
“With paving projects, the Town of Yarmouth has access to a single contractor. While another contractor could provide service, the costs would be much higher.”
He added that once the contract is awarded in June, projects are added to the contractor’s already busy schedule. Other factors that can make scheduling a challenge include weather, other construction work on or near streets chosen for paving, and availability of equipment needed from third-party contractors.
“These are all facts that we cannot control,“ said Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood.
“We have some capacity to make small repairs, including filling in hazardous potholes, but the bulk of the work needs to be done by Aberdeen during paving season. But they are very busy and we don’t receive special treatment in their schedule. We are a customer just like everyone else, so we have to wait and be patient for the bigger jobs to get done. When we tender the work in June, we can only hope we complete all the work by December.”
Waiting aside, the town received good news this year in the way of more gas tax to help with paving and other infrastructure work. The mayor says changes are needed to make for more fairness in how towns receive help with roads versus rural areas looked after by the province.
"This year we were fortunate to receive double our usual Federal Gas Tax amount, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is working diligently at finding a way to see that happen every year going forward," said Mood.
"But the real issue is the manner in which the gas tax is doled out and how municipal units are responsible for their roads in different manners. Towns service everyone in the entire region but are responsible for paying for 100 per cent of our streets. In the county, the province pays for the biggest portion of road maintenance. It makes no sense whatsoever and a great deal of work is needed to change the formula to ensure fairness and equitability on the roads issue.”
Another key factor affecting road conditions is that the town's population increases dramatically each week day. Most people employed within the town live outside of town. This means thousands of vehicles are driving on the roads with town taxpayers footing 100 per cent of the bill for the wear and tear.
“We’re thankful to be the service centre for this entire end of the province, but with no help on the roads issue, sadly, we are not able to keep up with the paving projects,” said Mood.
“That needs to change. We want everyone to be able to drive on reasonably paved roads."
The three areas set for work in September will receive major overhauls. Each stretch will be milled the full width of the street and then recapped with more than two inches of asphalt. Bad sections will be excavated and patched prior to milling.
Over the coming summer weeks, town crews will continue to work on pothole repairs on several streets. Aberdeen Paving will also undertake smaller ‘excavate-and-patch’ repairs where entire sections of pavement are cut out and replaced with new asphalt. Some areas chosen for this work include:
North Main Street
Dates for capital paving projects will be announced later this summer once confirmed with Aberdeen Paving.