Infill house boom a bumpy ride for some inner-city streets
City says every cut into a street to tie in to utilities reduces roadway's lifespan
The city says it’s doing what it can to prevent older neighbourhoods from being left with bumpy, uneven roads as builders continue digging up streets to construct new infill houses in Calgary’s inner-city.
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The city issued 3,000 excavation permits last year — many of them for builders and contractors to cut into an existing roadway to tie the new residence into water and sewer service.
The city tries to ensure the repaving meets city standards, but roads department spokeswoman Jessica Bell acknowledged there is a lot of building activity going on in existing neighbourhoods.
"In the sense that their road is now bumpier, we sympathize with that, but we do do everything we can to minimize that, including trying to get the paving up to standard and getting out there and fixing any sunken utility cuts as quickly as we can,” she said.
The city recently started charging infill builders a road degradation fee. The minimum charge is $441 per cut. The rate could go up depending on the size of the opening, Bell said.
Bell said an independent engineering study shows every cut into a street reduces the lifespan of the road by 22 per cent.
One infill builder declined an on-camera interview, but said his company contracts out the paving to another firm, which is supposed to follow city guidelines for repaving.
In an email, the Calgary Home Builders Association said if builders are involved in the repaving they are required to hire "qualified indemnity contractors."
But association spokesperson Kathy McCormick added that it's a city-controlled process.