A costly kilometre in Whistle Bend

Whistle Bend Way is a pricey piece of pavement. The new subdivision access corridor cost $6 million for the first kilometre. That's almost double what it cost to build the Hamilton Boulevard extension.

Whistle Bend Way is a pricey piece of pavement.

The new subdivision access corridor cost $6 million for the first kilometre.

That’s almost double what it cost to build the Hamilton Boulevard extension, which was $3.75 million a kilometre.

And it’s 10 times what it costs to pave a one-kilometre stretch of highway, which averages $375,000.

There are reasons for the cost, said Community Services program manager Brian Ritchie on Monday.

“There’s the landscaping, the engineering design, planning and the roundabout.”

Roundabouts cost roughly $300,000 a pop, he said.

There are also streetlights, curbs, gutters and a large water main buried under the road, which brings up the cost, said Ritchie.

“And Northwestel infrastructure is buried under the road,” he said.

It’s a fibre optic cable to connect the new subdivision to Northwestel’s internet and phone service.

But the telco isn’t paying for it.

“The government is paying for it,” said Ritchie.

There are several more kilometres of road to build linking the new subdivision to the city.

And the cost will likely remain around $6-million a kilometre, said Ritchie.

The Whistle Bend roadbed is gravel.

And the government doesn’t expect to see frost heaves, like the ones plaguing the Hamilton Boulevard extension.

“But we didn’t expect them there either,” added Ritchie.

The Hamilton Boulevard frost heaves are being monitored every two weeks, he said.

“And it looks like they’re stabilizing.”

Ritchie is blaming melting pockets of permafrost for the rollercoaster road.

“It’s not a contractor issue,” he said.

So government is on the hook for the repairs.

“We’ll either dig it up or cover them,” he said.

On Monday, Highways and Public Works Minister Archie Lang and Whitehorse Mayor Bev Buckway cut the ribbon on Whistle Bend Way.

“This has been a long time in the making,” said Lang.

“And look at this fabulous view people will see coming home after a long day’s work.

“It’s a scenic route leading to a beautiful subdivision overlooking the Yukon River.”

The city wanted to create more convenient routes for commuters and improve transit service, said Buckway.

“As the subdivision builds out, we want sustainable transportation.”

By next fall there will be 120 lots available in Whistle Bend, said Ritchie.

“It will be a mix of single family and multifamily lots, with one commercial lot.”

By spring of 2013, Ritchie expects to see people living in the new subdivision, he said.

But there are still another four phases of development after that.

“There will be a five- to 10-year window to finish all these phases, depending on demographics,” he said.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com