Iola Road is located at the west end of Ponoka County

Iola Road is located at the west end of Ponoka County

Iola Road tendered for $4.9 million

County’s costliest project ever to be completed in less than six months.

Ponoka County’s Iola Road has now been tendered for paving and its set completion date is marked for Sept. 15 at the latest.

County council made the decision to go with the company Border Paving from among the bidders during a special meeting held Monday, April 20.

Border Paving has taken on the project with a cost estimation of $4.9 million.

“They were the one contractor we were hoping would be able to do it,” said Ponoka County CAO Charlie Cutforth.

“It’s the most money we’ve ever spent on one project,” he added.

Cutforth says there was another contracting company who put in almost the same bid. However, its completion date was scheduled for much later in the fall and Cutforth says the county wants to have the project done sooner rather than later.

Cutforth says he is hoping the paving project is done earlier than Sept. 15 but feels the county can afford that date. “The urgency isn’t as great as we feared it would be.”

With oilfield activity along the road having lessened with the economy, Iola Road does not have to handle the same pressures it usually has to.

“Our primary concern is to protect the local residents that live along there,” said Cutforth.

Iola Road is located at the west end of Ponoka County, west of Highway 20 and nine miles north of Rimbey.

The project involves paving of an approximately five and a half miles of road with hot mix asphalt. “It will have the same standard as the primary highway,” said Cutforth.

Last year, Ponoka County received $1.2 million in drilling fees and Cutforth says drilling in the area has been active for many years. While it is a hefty investment upfront, the county will make the money back through those fees.