Hamilton Kent Blog

What infrastructure challenges does your city face?

Main Image

In our last post, we already reflected on the challenges that infrastructure faced in the year that passed.

But 2015 isn’t going to be a cakewalk.

We’ve been listening to municipal professionals to get an idea of what they see as some of the most important issues to address in 2015 going forward. They came up with 5 major issues:

1) Inflow and Infiltration – There is still a big problem with I/I, even after all of the work that’s been done. Much of the wastewater collection systems in North America has lost efficiency and effectiveness. Many cities haven’t been proactive enough in their preventative maintenance regime or made major capital investments in the last few years. There are a number of solutions out there, including repair at the top of the manhole.

2) Roadwork – Roads need work and we have not even seen the worst of this winter yet. Cities and the highway agencies can’t seem to get ahead on this, likely because of the lack of funding. This is only going to get worse with gas prices down. Highway funding relies on gas tax, which will be reduced with lower gas prices.

3) Bridges –Too many bridges are beyond the point where they should have been replaced or repaired. Funding is a problem and cities need to look at alternative bridge solutions. Precast concrete is a great example, as it is usually more cost effective for the overall project, and takes far less time than conventional methods.

4) Water distribution – Typically, each month there are many water main breaks in a city, depending on the region and season. It costs cities thousands of dollars in repairs and lost water. And this does not even include the leaks that have gone undetected. Getting better control over our water distribution is critical not only from a financial perspective, but also from an environmental one. Water is our most precious commodity, so we cannot afford to lose thousands, or millions, of gallons in leaks.

5) Funding – There is never enough to handle all of the projects that need to be completed for bridges, sewers and water systems. Taxes or fees probably need to go up, but this is always a hard sell given the political climate. Communities are growing at a pace that has outpaced development for residential, commercial and transportation, and infrastructure investments need to keep pace. And alternative funding needs to be explored as some cities have found creative ways to pay for their projects.

Did we miss something? We’d love to hear from your about the challenges you are facing in your city. We’ll also be ready to offer up some solutions to strengthen your infrastructure for the next year.