As part of an ongoing effort to achieve safety and efficiency on Hamilton’s Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP), a substantial paving project for the route is on the city’s to-do list.
The seven-kilometre stretch that runs between the QEW and Dartnall Road has been contentious even before opening in 2007. In its 11-year life, there has been ongoing issues with accidents, noise, cost and pollution. In addressing safety, to keep the well-travelled roadway in good working order, it will undergo a $15-million resurfacing this summer.
“The asphalt is at the end of its expected life cycle. Originally from 2007, this resurfacing project falls under regular maintenance work,” said Gord McGuire, the City of Hamilton’s director of engineering services.
Quality of the original asphalt has come into question repeatedly over the life of the parkway, more so after it was concluded that twice as many vehicular accidents happened on the RHVP than on the connecting Lincoln Alexander Parkway.
In exploring different material possibilities for the project, the city conducted sampling of the existing RHVP asphalt this past summer to see if a newer technology — a “hot-in-place” method — could be used now, rather than the stone mastic asphalt that what was originally used for the project.
The cost-saving, hot-in-place technology is the process of recycling asphalt during resurfacing by scraping up the top layers of asphalt, mixing and then repaving in one continuous chain.
“The samples were one-metre-by-six-to-nine-metres in three locations in the northbound lanes and three locations in the southbound lanes. The city is still considering using hot-in-place in a different location,” said McGuire, further explaining that “hot-in-place is not a current practice in Ontario. Our testing, together with MTO, will continue on this technology. We have not selected this technique for the RHVP simply due to timing.”
To adhere to the schedule and the city’s standards specifications, the asphalt requirements for this project are now being finalized and will be part of the tender process.
The price tag falls under the city’s programmed capital work through the capital budget process. Approximately $6.75 million has been approved in 2018 and the remaining will go to council for approval in the 2019 cycle.
In regard to the excessive amount of accidents on the RHVP, reasons such as material of the pavement among them, are inconclusive.
However, the crashes have not gone unnoticed or unaddressed by Hamilton Traffic Safety.
In records provided by the city from 2013 to present, 2015 was an all-time high for accidents on the RHVP with a total of 138. That number dropped significantly in the following two years, with 102 in both 2016 and 2017.
“The city has made a number of improvements to the Red Hill Valley Parkway over the years. (This includes) the installation of cat eyes (reflective recessed pavement markers), signage improvements, pavement marking modifications, directional signage and the installation of variable message boards.
“We have also been working closely with Hamilton Police Services to increase enforcement,” said City of Hamilton Traffic Safety superintendent David Ferguson.