EDMONTON -- Although the global pandemic caused some supply delays for Edmonton’s construction crews, the city says less traffic helped in some instances and most projects are expected to finish on time and budget.

According to the acting deputy city manager of integrated infrastructure services, 94 per cent of work is on budget and 84 per cent remains on schedule in what is one of the most ambitious building seasons the city has seen.

“We do experience impacts from time to time but we’re not at a point to really definitively say we’ve got projects delayed specifically because of COVID,” Jason Meliefste said in an update Thursday.

Work to widen Yellowhead Trail to three lanes in each direction, from 61 Street east, is anticipated to be finished by the end of the year. The work to convert the entire corridor into a freeway is on track to be completed 2027.  

Meliefste said contractors have done a “phenomenal job” on one of the city’s most complex projects: Groat Road Bridge. At the end of next month, he said commuters could expect full daytime closures as concrete was poured, but that the roadway would open in the fall.

Site preparation has started for Valley Line West LRT, and construction continued for Valley Line Southeast.

The latter project is one whose timeline has been pushed back. According to Meliefste, the line likely won’t be finished before next summer or fall.

He called earlier troubles – including a concrete slab found in the North Saskatchewan River, which complicated the building of Tawatinâ Bridge – a difficult hurdle early on that required contractors to call in extra manpower and resources.

However, city crews have made unprecedented progress in other areas, such as potholes.

Eduardo Sosa, director of infrastructure maintenance, told media his teams had fixed nearly 310,000 potholes since the start of the year.

The number marks a 20 per cent increase over 2019.

“With less vehicles on the roads, our crews have been able to access our infrastructure faster and to repair more potholes this year compared to last year,” Sosa said.

They’ve also focused on hyperlocal projects given their increased use due with a decline in travel out of the city: 16 communities are currently participating in the neighbourhood renewal program, counting together 100 kilometres of sidewalk and road way and 10 kilometres of alleyways to be improved by the end of this year.

The departments are due to meet with council later in the year to review priorities under capital plan.

“It’s fair to say that as part of that, there could be some adjustments that are made, but certainly as it stands today, as part of the 2020 construction season, we are continuing as planned,” Meliefste said.