in the works this year is a project to place utility lines underground from Buck Creek to Butler Avenue at a cost of $1.3 million. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

District to place utility lines underground

The work is in partnership with BC Hydro, Telus and CityWest

While 9th St. is to be the scene of a major project this summer to replace aging underground civic works infrastructure and finished with a new-look paved surface and improved pedestrian access and visual enhancements, there’s also significant work planned along Hwy16.

Terus Construction of Surrey, the successful bidder for the 9th St. contract will also be building a sidewalk from Benson Ave. to the eastern edge of the current Poulton Ave. intersection at Hwy16, along with bases for future street lighting.

The price for this is $650,000 and the cost is included within the $3.274 million 9th St. contract.

The sidewalk work fits in with the District of Houston’s separate yet connected longterm vision of visual and infrastructural improvements within the core downtown area.

Also in the works this year is a project to place utility lines underground from Buck Creek to Butler Ave. at a cost of $1.3 million.

It involves B.C. Hydro, Telus and CityWest working in concert with the District in terms of planning and sharing costs.

“The scope of work would involve the burial of B.C. Hydro, Telus and Citywest lines in concrete conduit, removing utility poles, and replacing any BC Hydro lighting with LED Light Standards,” explained District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

“Some private services will also be required to convert to underground as a result of this project, while others will still have an above ground service point.”

To date BC Hydro has committed itself to financing one-third of the cost of putting its lines underground and that works out to $190,000, said Pinchbeck.

“In addition, they will credit the District for the replacement cost of aging poles based on their age, which would increase the contribution from BC Hydro,” he said.

Placing Telus and CityWest lines underground would be cost-shared between the District and those two entities.

The District will be financing its portion of this $1.3 million project from its unallocated surplus.

As of now, BC Hydro is finalizing engineering and design.

There’s also a bit of movement on another infrastructure improvement desire on the part of the District — working with the provincial transportation ministry for more efficient and safer access to Hwy16 from North Nadina Drive and Tweedie Ave.

Late last year the ministry indicated it would conduct a preliminary engineering study outlining various options and associated costs.

While there remains no financial commitment on the part of the province, last week the ministry indicated it “understands the importance of corridor improvements through Houston and regularly partners with the District of Houston on such projects.”

“There were some minor delays to in person meetings due to COVID-19, and the ministry is now continuing work with our municipal partners in a virtual setting.”

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