Underpass cracks being reviewed

Duane Hicks

Cracks along the newly-paved underpass are being reviewed to determine what will be done, if anything at all, Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown told town council last night.
“These are basically construction joints. There’s 29 transverse cracks where the concrete slabs were,” Brown said. “The asphalt is cracked where the concrete joints were.
“They were there before,” he noted.
Brown said the consultant has been contacted about it and it is being looked at, but noted that “when you router and hot lance and put the crack sealing in it, you might be causing more damage, and have a bump every six metres.”
“They might be just considering doing nothing, or they might be just putting a liquid sealer in there.”
Brown explained asphalt is “made to crack at these locations because of the concrete slabs underneath it.”
“It’s normal,” he stressed. “It was there before, but because it’s brand new, you don’t like to see the asphalt crack.”
Similarly, Brown said there’s a longitudinal crack 177 metres long running down the middle because the underlying concrete slabs are in segments on either side of the roadway.
Brown noted the two underpass lanes have been re-opened since Sept. 2 and since that time, other work has included line painting, completing the perimeter fencing at the southwest, northeast, and southeast quadrants, finished off fencing on the west side handrail, and cutting the exposed sheet piling in the southeast quadrant.
“We’re going through the design stage right now for the pumphouse upgrades and the new forced main that goes underneath the tracks into the manhole on Third Street,” added Brown.
The pumphouse designs and approvals likely will happen over the winter, with work taking place next spring.
As for other projects under the Operations and Facilities division, Brown said all of the streets redone as part of the biomass project were re-opened as of last Friday, with the paving work now done.
Crews still have to put bricks back and do some landscaping along Portage Avenue while line painting started today.
Brown said some people may have noticed that the sidewalk on the southwest corner of Portage and Church has been temporarily filled with asphalt, as opposed to concrete, so a damaged hydro pole there can replaced.
And finally, he said Pioneer Construction will be paving a portion of Central Avenue and the 100 block of Scott Street around Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, Community Services manager George Bell told council that work on Phase II of the Heritage Tourism Project continues.
All of the components of the refurbished tower are on site and ready to be assembled, and the new 25 foot viewing platform has been assembled on the second section of the tower.
The contractor has to finish the hand railing and stairwell on it, and next week will be re-assembling the whole tower.
Minor repairs and refurbishing of the Hallett also continue. These include fixing doors and windows, putting in a new electrical system, repairing flag poles and lights, and extending the outer railing to the back of the boat—giving visitors more room to walk around.
As for the way-finding and banners part of the project, all of the street sign locations have been identified (the majority of them are on southwest corners).
As was reported in last week’s Times, artwork submitted by area artists has been selected for the banners, and they reflect four themes: downtown, forestry, attractions, and fur trade.
The banners will be put up in the spring, and be placed in their respective areas (downtown, waterfront, etc.) so that they alternate with banners saying, “Discover Fort Frances: The Great Canadian Experience.”
Locations also have been determined for the interpretive panels, which will be installed by Ed Kaun & Sons in the next couple of weeks.
Finally, over at the site of the new library and technology centre, all the electrical and plumbing “roughing” has been completed and the foundation has been poured.
The steel is on site and will be put up over the next couple of weeks.
The parking lot curbs there have been poured, and the granular ‘A’ material put down.
Paving will take place the week after Thanksgiving (weather permitting).