Lloydminster residents who drive on Highway 16 everyday could be in for a smoother ride next year.

The city is applying for funding through Alberta’s Municipal Stimulus Program to rehabilitate 44th Street from 62nd to 75th Avenue. Just over $2.3 million is available through the program and the city would cover the rest of the $1.9 million for the project.

The rehabilitation is split into three parts with a complete reconstruction from 62nd to 66th Avenue, milling and paving from 66th to 70th Avenue and an asphalt overlay from 70th to 75th Avenue.

The road conditions of the highway are a well known issue to the city and they addressed some safety concerns  earlier this summer with an asphalt overlay at the intersection at 62nd Avenue. Mayor Gerald Aalbers says the city is taking every opportunity to provide some long term improvements for residents on their commutes.

“Any time an opportunity [comes up] we cannot miss that opportunity to improve the conditions of that infrastructure. It’s something people use everyday and we hear about it everyday if there’s potholes. We hear about snow removal and if the roads smooth it’ll be easier to clean during the winter. If it’s smoother in the summer you’ll have a more enjoyable ride.”

The program requires the project to start in 2020 or 2021 and all funds must be used by the end of December 2021.

The improvements would be done at the same time as the concrete block installation and utility replacements underneath the 44th Street and 62nd Avenue intersection. The intersection project is funded through Saskatchewan’s Municipal Economic Enhancement Program which will cover $1.6 million.

During the construction period, the entire length of the construction area will be closed off on either the north portion or south portion. Once work is done on whichever side is chosen first, it will be reopened and the other portion will be closed for construction.

Aalbers says it’s unlikely that parts of the road where there is less intensive work being done will be reopened early as it could create a safety issue.

“Once you’ve changed the traffic flow you have to keep it consistent. When you move in, move out and move back in again there’s a greater chance of accidents we’ve seen on provincial highway and in construction zones. We want to ensure it’s as safe as possible as quick as possible.”

Aalbers says construction is expected to last throughout most of the summer and asks for patience from drivers.

“We haven’t seen the work schedule yet and that will come out in the new year, but it will take a couple of months. Anyone who’s worked in construction knows when you excavate dirt and lay concrete it takes 28 to 35 days of dry time alone.”

“It takes time to do this work and we’ll work as hard, safe and fast as we can, so I just remind people to bear with us and be patient.”

Construction is planned to finish in the third quarter of 2021.