July 7, 2017
I submitted an Administrative Inquiry to seek information regarding the Military Trail Road Closure from Ellesmere Road to Highcastle Road for Emergency Road and Watermain Repair, Contract 16TW-OS-27CWD.
Please review the answers from Toronto Water and Transportation Services:
- Why is Military Trail not a priority to repair as is being done with other roads in downtown Toronto?
The watermain break discovered on April 3, 2017 had been running for a period of time before it was identified, and as a result significant damage to the road occurred. This damage includes:
- numerous locations where the roadway has broken up (severe cracking and potholes);
- large deviations and distortions of the pavement surface;
- grade depressions and water ponding on the travelled portion caused by the water runoff from the watermain break; and
- pavement edge surface loss with broken edges of pavement at many locations that extend more than a metre inward from the edge of the surface asphalt.
Given the extent of the damage, a geotechnical review of the pavement structure and a permanent repair needs to be completed before the road can safely be reopened to the public.
2. Why did it take several weeks for Toronto Water to advise Transportation Services Scarborough District that a section of the road on Military Trail had collapsed making it unsafe to reopen causing undo delay for repair?
Toronto Water staff have been in frequent communication with Transportation Services staff throughout the initial project and during the subsequent emergency repair without delay.
Staff from several Divisions (i.e. Toronto Water, Transportation Services, Engineering & Construction Services and Strategic Communications) have been working collaboratively to resolve problems as they have presented themselves. A summary of communication with Transportation Services staff is follows:
- Toronto Water and Transportation Services staff meet during January and February to discuss the initial project and information from the Work Zone Traffic Coordinator in Transportation Services regarding the requirements for traffic restrictions is issued in early February. Worked on the initial project commenced later that month.
- On March 31, 2017, Toronto Water staff were called to investigate a watermain break outside the project limits and turned off the watermain to allow for repairs.
- On April 3, 2017, Toronto Water issues a road disruption notification indicating that repair work will commence and last for a week. As repair work proceeded, staff became aware of extensive damage to the road structure beyond originally contemplated. Toronto Water and Transportation Services staff are in frequent communication during the first two weeks of April assessing the road damage and extending the closure due to safety concerns.
- By the middle of April, Transportation Services staff determine the damage is too extensive and the road is unsafe to reopen. This information is conveyed to the Councillor’s office.
- During the last two weeks of April, Toronto Water, Strategic Communications and Transportation Services staff consult on a public notification strategy.
- During the first week in May, staff from Toronto Water, Transportations Services and Engineering & Construction Services met to develop a strategy on how to proceed with the rehabilitation of the road.
- May 13, 2017 Toronto Water staff issued a Construction Update to area residents and on May 18, 2017 Strategic Communications issued a News Release and an update on Twitter.
- Why was this road repair not deemed an emergency for repair immediately instead of being pushed to Fall 2017?
Transportation Services and Toronto Water are working as expeditiously as possible to reopen Military Trail. However, there has been significant damage to the roadway surface and sub-surface. As the scope of damage to the roadway has not yet been fully determined, and the watermain rehabilitation is ongoing, it has not been possible to undertake emergency repairs. Furthermore, any interim repairs that could be undertaken might have to be re-done as part of the permanent rehabilitation which would result in an inefficient use of funds.
The full scope of the damage to Military Trail cannot be determined until the geotechnical survey is complete, which in turn cannot be completed until the watermain replacement is finished.
Once the survey has been completed, a repair and rehabilitation plan will be developed collaboratively between Transportation Services, Toronto Water and Engineering & Construction Services. Preliminary timelines suggest that if the road repairs are minor and there are no significant delays to the rehabilitation work, the road may be reopened in late 2017. However, if a major road reconstruction is required, or there are other unforeseen delays, reopening may not occur until 2018
4. Residents are reporting that no work is currently being done onsite, please advise if this is the case?
This site is essentially now divided into two phases: Phase I being the “original” scope section between Highland Creek and Neilson Road, and Phase II being the “extension” section west of Highland Creek.
Work on Phase I commenced in February 2017 for the segment between Highland Creek and Highcastle Road. With that section now completed, the Contractor is working on the segment between Highcastle Road and Neilson Road. This section has water services which require placement on temporary water bypass. The bypass has been placed and the Contractor is attempting to achieve successful disinfection results so he can turn on the bypass and isolate the watermain. Water quality testing began on April 21, and since then has been unsuccessful on several occasions. Until the bypass is activated, lining activity cannot commence. Therefore, apart from the occasional disinfection and flushing work there will not be much site activity while water samples are undergoing testing. It is reasonable, therefore, for the typical resident to perceive there to be little to no construction activity in this section.
Work on Phase II extension is active since a bypass pipe is not required here. This activity is confined to the section of road that is closed to the public so it may not be obvious that construction is occurring.
5. Why is the road and watermain work in this community not being harmonized to ensure that residents can safely and efficiently travel to and from their homes and are notices in place at the locations?
Given that the required road rehabilitation work was not planned as part of the City’s capital works program, it is difficult to fully coordinate the project as the work will need to be completed under different contracts (one contract is already active and the other has yet to be tendered). Staff from Toronto Water, Transportation Services and Engineering & Construction Services have been working to develop a strategy that is appropriate for the conditions that have occurred.
As a result, the scope of the original watermain cleaning and re-lining project was extended to include the portion from Highland Creek to Ellesmere Road in order to minimize further damage to the road and to rehabilitate the watermain as quickly as possible. A geotechnical investigation of the road structure must be completed to properly assess the road damage and develop an appropriate rehabilitation strategy. Once this is completed, a road rehabilitation contract can be prepared and tendered and further information about the timing of the road work can be communicated.
Regarding notices, on May 13, 2017 Toronto Water staff issued a Construction Update to area residents and on May 18, 2017 Strategic Communications issued a News Release and an update on Twitter. Construction site signage is in place to help motorists detour around the construction area. Further Construction updates will be issued as information becomes available.
- Advise if the road repairs on Military Trail can be addressed immediately for vehicle access
It is not possible at this time to provide safe vehicular access via Military Trail. Providing this access will be subject to the determination of the full scope of roadway damage and the completion of repairs or reconstruction accordingly.
What was the original scope of work to be performed?
The scope of work included the cleaning and structural re-lining of the watermain on Military Trail from Neilson Road to Highland Creek as part of the Council-approved Capital Works Program. It also included the replacement of the City-owned portion of any substandard water service pipes. See attached February 6, 2017 Construction Notice.
Why is the road closed?
During construction, and unrelated to the project, a section of the watermain (west of the original work location) broke which caused significant damage to a section of the road. For this reason the road closure was extended on April 3, 2017 because it was no longer safe for vehicular traffic.
What work must be done before the road can be open for vehicles?
The scope of the original watermain cleaning and re-lining project was extended to include the portion from Highland Creek to Ellesmere Road in order to minimize further damage to the road and to rehabilitate the watermain as quickly as possible. This work is currently underway and expected to be completed this fall. See attached May 3, 2017 Construction Update.
In addition, while the watermain is being rehabilitated, a geotechnical investigation of the road structure must be completed to assess damage and develop an appropriate road rehabilitation strategy. Once this is completed, a road rehabilitation contract will be prepared and tendered and further information about the timing of the road work can be established and communicated to the public.
All my Best,
City of Toronto Councillor
Scarborough East – Ward 43