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NNSL Photo

Lee Windle, with RTL Robinson Construction, directs traffic at the corner of 49th Avenue and 49th Street. - Stephan Burnett/NNSL photo

Reconstructing Yellowknife

$3 million being spent on city summer capital work

Stephan Burnett
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 20/03) - If you come onto the road construction work at the corner of 49th Avenue and 49th Street patience is key, the work being done there could eventually reduce the number of blackouts in the city.

The downtown reconstruction project promises to provide more electrical capacity to the downtown core.

Ruel Bros. Contracting of Peace River, Alta. is general contractor for the job, one of several summer works projects on the City of Yellowknife's books.

Additional power ducts should eventually lessen the scope of power outages within the downtown core, said John Cooper, Ruel's site manager.

RTL Robinson Enterprises has been working on the downtown construction project for the past couple of weeks.

The crew, installing storm sewer and underground duct work for street lights, started on Aug. 6.

"The biggest problem is the existing fibre optics and primary power feeds.

"They go through the intersection three different ways.

"We had to do a lot of hand digging," said Cecil Lockhart, superintendent for RTL.

"The heaviest traffic has been between 8 and 5. It's been bumper to bumper ... we set up the cones with one fellow controlling the four-way and it's working a lot smoother," said Lockhart.

Overall, the project is smaller on the scale for RTL, said company vice president Donnie Robinson.

"They're widening the sidewalks and cleaning it and when you do that it makes sense to do the sewer and gutter at the same time," said Robinson.

Greg Kehoe, the city's director of public works and engineering, said the storm sewer and underground duct work being done by RTL and is part of a larger upgrade project.

Over the last couple of years, the city has completed reconstruction projects on 51st Avenue, on part of 48th Street and "the biggest example was Franklin Avenue when it was done in 1999," said Kehoe.

"We do understand there is some inconvenience to the residents, and we do work with the consultants, architects and engineers to do it in a timely manner," Kehoe said.

"The number of different crews involved include all the utilities: NorthwesTel, Northland Utilities Ltd. and various surveyors and engineers and contractors and subcontractors," said Kehoe.

"There's a lot of different groups and expertise to co-ordinate it all."