One of Flin Flon’s most used transit lanes is back and open for driving.
Ross Street, the road that winds up Sipple Hill and provides one of the quickest routes from Flin Flon to Creighton, was reopened Nov. 7, one day ahead of the announced opening date of Nov. 8.
At the Nov. 5 city council meeting, council members and Mayor Cal Huntley were anticipating the project would open on the new schedule.
“They aren’t doing pipe work or anything anymore. They were actually out there backfilling and tamping - that’s usually an indication that they’re done,” said Glenna Daschuk, chief administrative officer for the City of Flin Flon.
The portion of Ross Street closed was directly in front of the city’s number one heating station, located at the intersection of Third Avenue and Ross Street. Work on the site began last June with an initial finish date of August 5. That day would be pushed back several times. The opening day for the street was more than three months after the first reported date. City officials cite issues with the contractor responsible for the project and unforeseen complications with the site for the delays.
During the closure, a detour was set up directing drivers onto a back lane further away from the plant, while the stretch of street higher on the hill remained open.
After the first snowfall of the year, several vehicles slid down the hill and failed to complete the turn, crashing either into barricades set up on the street or, in at least one case, into the front yard of a home near the detour corner.
Following the wrecks, the entire street was shut down for northbound traffic from the top of the hill at the intersection with South Hudson Street – effectively turning the road into a one-way street.
“After the winter snowfall, making that corner was very hard and there were several accidents. You could go up the hill, but you couldn’t go down it,” said Huntley.
“It was only for local traffic anyway, but it was being used as if it was for regular traffic.”
The road in front of the heating station will not be paved until next spring at the earliest, something Huntley said was always part of the City plan.
“It won’t be paved this year and the intent was never to pave it this year. It was to let it settle and see what other groundwork we have to do, so that when we pave that, hopefully it will last for a fair amount of time.”
The road reopening signals the end of the first stage of a city infrastructure upgrade described in this year’s municipal budget as “utility six critical assets” – nearly $3 million will go into fixing the City’s water and sewer infrastructure, including fixes at the heating plant, water tower, reservoir and pipes in some locations.
Some construction work on the site will continue, confined to the heating station itself – particularly with a boiler inside.
“They’re still working in the building,” said Huntley.