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Calgary mayor says 3-to-5-week repair timeline is the 'maximum'

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Calgarians can expect water restrictions and traffic disruptions to continue for three to five more weeks as crews work to repair a major water main break and address five additional points of potential failure.

Repair work on the original break is complete, but road construction at the site continued Monday.

Michael Thompson, City of Calgary infrastructure services general manager, says while many Calgarians are questioning the cause of the break, and the subsequent discovery of other points of failure, the city's primary focus is restoring full water service as quickly as possible.

"We know people want answers about the cause of the break," Thompson said.

"We want answers to what happened as well. Right now, we're committed to getting a complete analysis of this incident. But we're focused on reducing consumption, repairing the break, restoring water service and then completing the review."

Traffic headaches

Thompson says commuters in northwest Calgary, particularly those travelling on 16th Avenue, should expect significant delays due to construction.

The City of Calgary is urging residents to plan their commutes.

"The impacts to traffic will be significant during this time, and we encourage you to plan your commute in advance as we strive towards completing these repairs together."

Business impact

Businesses along the construction zone have reported a sharp decline in customers due to road closures.

BK Liquor Store manager Javinder Kullar says business is down by more than half.

"I would say it was a 60 to 70 per cent drop," Kullar said.

"It's not even worth it to open up, but I have to be here for my customers, whoever comes, and make sure I'm here for them."

A few blocks east on 16th Avenue, Centro Motel manager Michael Shelton is worried.

"Right now, our business is at least a fifth of what it should be," Shelton said.

"The new construction and delays – that'll deter some people from coming in possibly, because people don't like to be stuck in traffic."

The two new worksites along 16th Avenue encompass all five points of potential failure, or hot spots, as referred to by city waterworks.

The one from 45th Street to 49th Street contains a single hot spot while the most easterly worksite extending from 43th Street to the point 16th Avenue crosses Bowness Road contains four.

City seeking help

To expedite repairs, the city has hired multiple private contractors.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek says the city is also consulting with pipeline experts from the oil and gas industry.

"Those are Standard General, Volker Stevin, Whissell, LBCO, Associated Engineering and Pure Technologies," Gondek said.

"We have been working in the energy industry and we're incredibly fortunate to have these people available to us because our city is known for its leadership in this area."

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