MD of Bonnyville council plans to hold an open house Sept. 14 at Sandy Rapids Community Hall after receiving a petition with 114 names on it to stop the use of calcium chloride as a dust control agent on Wolf Lake Road.
Petitioners listed five reasons requesting the dust control agent be stopped from being applied to the road, including respiratory problems they associated with calcium chloride and that it is corrosive and hard to wash off vehicles.
The petition also stated that the 60 km an hour speed limit was not being adequately enforced, that construction signage along the road is inadequate, and that soft spots along the road makes it hard to travel.
“When it rains the road is impassable. It's soft, it's slippery, the gravel is poor quality, when it rains it goes slimy. I don't know why it does that but it does,” said Gordon Graves, who was not at the meeting.
He said health implications associated with calcium chloride had led to it being banned by some companies. As a volunteer fire-fighter with the Iron River Fire Hall, Graves said it took two to two and a half hours to wash the fire trucks after going down the road due to the calcium chloride. He described the amount of money needed from residents to maintain their vehicles because of the road as “horrendous.”
Graves also raised concerns about the building of the road, which he plans to bring to the town hall on Sept. 14.
The road lies in Coun. Barry Kalinski's ward. After the meeting, he said dust complaints led to the application of calcium chloride and that he hoped some ideas would come out of open house to solve the issues people raised.
“We're going to have to wait and see what the people want,” said Reeve Ed Rondeau after the meeting. He said a couple of soft spots would need firming up before paving, adding that, “When this is done they're going to have a paved road in front of their place. It'll be to a highway standard.”
He said in the past the MD mainly watered roads to control dust, but that on hot days water evaporates soon after application. Calcium chloride works best in dry weather, he said, but that it gets sloppy in wet weather like this year.
Darcy Zelisko, director of Transportation and Utilities, noted that 60 to 70 per cent of counties use calcium chloride as a dust control method in Alberta. “The dust situation hopefully is only temporary,” said Zelisko after the meeting, adding that the rains this year have reduced the level of dust. “Unfortunately, with the weather we've had this year, calcium really hasn't been that effective.”
He said a geotechnical firm had verified compaction on the road. He added that Public Safety has been patrolling Wolf Lake Road on a daily basis, but “short of sitting on that road full time with a patrol officer, there's no way to stop everybody.” He also said the construction signage is standard and was reviewed by the safety department and determined to be adequate.
Construction on Wolf Lake Road lost 25 days of work from June till Aug. 27 due to rain. The road was a cold mix surface before the MD decided to upgrade the road rebuild the road base. The road surface of the project is competed and grading will be completed as soon as the standing water in the ditches has dried up.
Council will vote later this year whether to approve funding to pave the road in 2011.