By Steve Hubrecht

Warmer temperatures and melting snow have made the newly paved 13th Avenue a bit of a splash — quite literally — with Invermere residents, with a couple of them calling the Pioneer recently to complain about the large puddles on the road there.

The stretch of 13th Avenue heading south from J.A. Laird Elementary School to Westside Road was the site of major sewer and water upgrades last summer (and will be again this coming summer), and the work entailing repaving the road.

When phase one of the work was completed earlier this past fall, the smooth surface was a welcome boon for drivers accustomed to the much rougher surface that previously existed there, but residents’ words of praise turned to grumbles a few weeks ago, and then again earlier this week, coinciding with above-zero degrees Celsius conditions. Residents were curious as to how such large puddles could exist on such a new road, and pointed out they were an obstacle both for pedestrians walking on the paved pathway as well as for vehicles on the road.

Fear not, however, as Invermere Mayor Al Miller explained that the drainage system for the road, including some natural swales, is still set to be completed in the spring and summer.

“There is still some work to be done. Although the road and path is paved, not all the work was entirely done before the ground froze and construction had to stop,” Miller told the Pioneer. “There is an area that is high, it’s forced up a bit, and that’s what’s causing the issue. Once the work is done, and the swales are seeded, that area will drain properly.”

The swales, when finished, will resemble small natural ditches with grass.