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Citizens Information Service
Public Works

Boulevard and pavement cut restorations

The City of Winnipeg Public Works Department Engineering Division plays an important role in ensuring that approximately 4,500 utility cuts are maintained and and restored each year.

What is a Utility Cut?

Utility cuts are made in street pavement, sidewalk pavement, curbs and boulevards by utilities, private contractors and City crews to either repair existing or install new electric, water, wastewater or hydro lines. Utility cuts may alter the aesthetics of your street during the process, but the steps are necessary to ensure the longevity of repairs.

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Utility Cut Process
1. Utility obtains a street cut permit.
2. Utility repair and cut are done by excavating boulevard and/or street.
3. Utility backfills and maintains the cut area until permanently restored; Public Works assesses permanent restoration requirements.
4. Restoration is assigned to a City crew or contractor.
5. City crew or contractor carry out permanent restoration.
6. Public Works inspects the restoration to ensure compliance.

Note: On average it takes 6-12 months in order to completely restore an excavation cut.

Restoration Scheduling

Utility cut restoration work begins in spring once the frost has left the ground and continues until the ground freezes in October/November. If a utility cut is initiated after August 1, the utility cut restoration will begin the following spring and we aim to permanently restore those cuts within a year.

Impacts on Scheduling
  • Utility cut requires filling and packing down;
  • Inclement weather;
  • Availability of restoration materials;
  • Parked vehicles in front of restoration area;
  • Time of year utility cut commences .

Frequently Asked Questions:

Someone has dug a hole on the City property in front of my home. Why was this done?

Utilities, private contractors, and city forces make excavations either to repair existing plant or to install new infrastructure.

When can I expect the excavation to be permanently restored?

If your excavation has been scheduled for restoration, you can contact 311 for a tentative completion date.

If your excavation has not been scheduled you may wish to review the section subtitled Scheduling to learn more about how excavations are scheduled.

NOTE: The restoration of excavations made on private property is strictly between the property owner and the person who made the excavation.

The excavation was left in, or is now in, an unsafe condition. Who do I contact?

You can contact 311 to report the condition of the cut. However, if you received a notice from the City's Water and Waste Department when the excavation was made, contact 311 and also advise them about the notice from Water and Waste.

Who will be restoring the excavation?

Currently boulevard and pavement restorations (roads, sidewalks, lanes) are done by separate entities, this being the private sector and public forces respectively. If an excavation encompasses both a paved area and a boulevard area, the paved area will be restored first.

There are damages on City property beyond the excavation. Will these be rectified?

Where it is clearly evident that damages to grassed and/or paved areas are a result of the excavation, the limits of the restoration may be expanded to include the damaged area.

The limits of the restoration are normally marked with paint prior to restoration commencing. If you are in disagreement with the limits contact 311.

The corporations that order the excavations pay for excavation restorations, therefore damages on City property that existed prior to the excavation are normally not considered as part of the restoration. Where restorations are being done using City forces, previously existing damages are sometimes included utilizing funds budgeted for maintenance work at the discretion of the foreman.

I am selling my home /having a wedding at my home /etc. Can my excavation be given preferential consideration?

No. Although we sympathize with your concerns, moving a crew to a special location to complete a restoration out of the scheduled order can result in the restoration of numerous other excavations being unjustifiably delayed. If you absolutely cannot wait to have your restoration completed, contact 311 to be referred to administrative personnel to discuss other options.

My personal property was damaged as a result of an excavation. Who do I contact?

If you know who made the excavation or what utility the excavation was made for, you can contact them directly. If you know that the excavation was made by City forces for water or sewer works you should contact the Water and Waste Department at 311. Questions or concerns about other excavations can be directed to the Public Works Department by contacting 311.

The excavation has not been completed by the date that the Public Works Department advised it would be. What should I do?

If work on the excavation has not commenced contact 311.

If some of the restoration work has been completed but the sod remains to be placed, the delay may be caused by circumstances beyond the City's control, e.g. significant amounts of recent precipitation. Patience in these circumstances is appreciated.

My boulevard excavation has been filled with topsoil. Will sod be placed? When?

The restoration of most boulevards is a three-step process:

  1. The excavation is trimmed to a uniform shape (normally rectangular), and backfill material is removed or applied to achieve proper grade.
  2. The excavated area is filled with topsoil.
  3. The area has sod applied. Note: this may follow step 2 by one to two weeks as it is common practice to perform the sod operation only when there are a large number of excavations ready for the sod.

Where the condition of the existing boulevard surrounding the excavation is poor, topsoil and seeding may be considered as an acceptable method of completing the restoration.

My boulevard restoration has been completed but it doesn't appear to be growing properly. What can I expect to be done about this?

All areas where sod has been placed or which have been seeded are subject to a 30-day maintenance period. At the end of the maintenance period the City inspects the restorations for acceptance. Observed deficiencies are corrected at the expense of the contractor and remain the responsibility of the contractor until the deficiencies have been corrected to the satisfaction of the City.

My boulevard restoration has been completed; why doesn't it match the surrounding grass?

The sod used to restore the excavation can be composed of different blends of cultivars than the existing surrounding boulevard. Over time this will become less apparent and the new sod will gradually blend in.

Please keep in mind that although we strive to provide high quality restorations, it is extremely difficult to have the restoration look similar to the surrounding area immediately, especially if your boulevard is very well manicured and groomed. Generally, it can take several months of growth for the new turf to fully establish itself and mature.

A restored excavation has now settled. Who should I notify?

You can contact 311 to advise of a settled restoration.

Above all, we want to keep the area safe.

If at any time you notice the utility cut area is unsafe, please contact 311.

Last update: June 14, 2019