Detailed design is nearly complete and construction is planned to begin in spring 2023.
Full park closure for up to 3 years is necessary for safety due to the extent of the rehabilitation work. Park closure will begin in spring 2023. It is possible that some recreation activities may resume in a staged manner as construction nears completion.
The project team, including City of Edmonton staff and external advisors including architects, engineers and construction managers, evaluated many options and determined the optimal approach to construction by taking into account multiple perspectives. The analysis included staging of construction through both partial and full park closures.
Among the items considered through this process:
Festival Accommodations - we recognize that a total closure is impactful, however, having ongoing restricted operations over an extended period of years if partially staged was not considered desirable either.
Safety - A large portion of this work will involve replacement of the deep service utilities throughout the entire park. Underground utilities are disruptive and create safety concerns if any portions of the park are left open. They require a significant amount of space to undertake the trench and backfill activities. A typical 3-4m deep pipe installation can require up to 16-20m (50-60 feet) width in working space when taking into account both the trench dimensions with safe cutback slopes as well as the space for a spoil pile to stage the excavated material.
Complexity - There are significant interdependencies with utilities. If we phased the work, we would either have to provide temporary services of most utilities in order to keep the park operating, or we would have to cut off some services until work was complete. Neither option would be appealing to the public or festival teams.
Risk - We anticipate a significant amount of permitting requirements for this project that can be considered and managed in one single request which reduces the overall risk.
Construction Schedule - The full closure strategy allows us the greatest opportunity to stack activities concurrently. This overlapping of activities and resources helps accelerate the timelines and create further agility ensuring the completion date committed to the public has the greatest chance of success.
Cost - A full closure helps provide greater assurances of the total cost for the project. It will be less susceptible to inflation and market pressures including changing codes and standards, regulations and permits. There is also expected to be less temporary work that otherwise may be required when proceeding in a staged approach.
User Experience - One way of promoting a good user experience is through consistency. Our objective will be to maintain active trail detours around the park once it’s fully closed to ensure that users can traverse the river valley trail system. Having consistent access and circulation around the construction area will aid users navigating the area as opposed to avoiding it all together.
Park Operations - Addressing the full scope of work under a total closure allows for the accelerated benefits of the renewal work contributing to enhanced serviceability and reliability issues in a more timely manner.
The project team explored all options, conducted an extensive amount of engagement and determined the best course of action. This was a difficult decision. As construction progresses, the team will actively work to identify areas where passive recreation activities may resume in a staged manner as the rehabilitation progresses.