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Monday, Dec 17, 2018

Inventory of secondary infrastructure helps City of St. Albert to improve forecast of maintenance and replacement costs

Secondary Infrastructure in St. Albert

Municipalities manage a large number of physical assets. Without a comprehensive inventory and condition assessment of secondary (orphaned) infrastructure, the City of St. Albert, located northwest of Edmonton, was experiencing unforeseen maintenance and replacement costs. The City asked Associated Engineering to locate and create an inventory of secondary infrastructure, determine the in-situ condition of the asset, and provide a summary of recommendations and estimated costs for improvements to restore an acceptable level of service.

Working with the City of St Albert’s core project team, we held a series of meetings and review sessions to determine the scope of secondary infrastructure to be incorporated into the City’s existing inventory -- a GIS database. Project Manager, Ryan Krausher, says, “These meetings helped to identify and prioritize the assets. Sixteen asset types were identified and divided into five main categories. Assets were then aligned for delegation of operation and maintenance to the appropriate City sub-department.”

Armed with Surface Pro tablets, field inspectors spent seven weeks to complete the inventory of secondary infrastructure. The largest challenge was finding the 16 asset types with unknown locations. GIS Technologist, Kent Richardson, tells us, “We traversed the city with a keen eye to locate, identify, and capture all of the required infrastructure.” 

Each Surface Pro tablet was incorporated with an external Trimble PG-200 GPS antenna to increase the location accuracy of the geodetic coordinate that was assigned to each inventoried asset. Inspectors captured locations, pictures, and entered attributes for each feature. 

Secondary Infrastructure in St. Albert

Inspectors covered over 400 kilometres of roadways, trails, and the Sturgeon River valley, including 554 hectares of designated city park space, in search of secondary infrastructure. Additional challenges for the inspectors included encroachments, covered features, or an inability to access the underside or rooftop of structures, such as gazebos or bridges. Other issues included heavy tree or building canopy which impacted GPS location. In these cases, inspectors noted issues in the database, and manually-entered assets and photos. 

Once collected, asset information was viewable on a map, with pictures and attributes linked. The data is digital and instantly synchronized, with no post-survey data entry required. Kent says, “Mobile data collection can be customized to suit project needs, is high quality, and requires little-to-no additional processing. The software is intuitive and easy to use.”

Over 130 linear assets and almost 1,100 point assets were collected

Secondary Infrastructure in St. Albert

Each asset was scored and prioritized based on its operating or residing condition, and the consequence of failure based on an objective judgment of the criteria, as agreed by the City. Condition assessment and prioritization involved a review of rehabilitation strategies, which included a variety of recommendations based on asset lifetime extension or adapting the feature design to allow for a longer service life and reduction in maintenance costs. To provide costs and recommendations for improvements, we individually assessed each inventoried asset. The final report detailed the project lifecycle, results, and recommendations. 

Our key personnel on this project included Ryan Krausher, Kent Richardson, Stephanie Tilk, and Chris Schmelzle.