A major road reconstruction project in Elmira’s north end is over budget, likely the result of construction companies having an abundance of work thanks to ongoing stimulus spending.
The $2.5-million budget for redoing streets in the area of Samuel Street is likely to be exceeded by some $190,000. Only two companies bid on the construction portion, although seven picked up tender packages.
Councillors meeting Apr. 13 awarded a $2.3-million contract to Steed and Evans to undertake the work. An additional $175,000 will go to Stantec Consulting to oversee the project.
Underground water, wastewater and storm sewers are to be replaced in the reconstruction of Samuel Street, Ann Street and portions of Riverside Drive, Herbert and William streets. New curbs, gutters and sidewalks are on the agenda.
Under the infrastructure stimulus fund, Woolwich will receive one-third of the original budgeted cost from both the federal and provincial governments. The township is responsible for the portion over the budget, as well as its own third of the cost.
Director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley suggested that the large amount of roadwork available in the region may have provided for less “competitive zeal” among construction companies – municipalities may be paying higher prices right now as demand is high.
“We didn’t get really competitive bids – would that be a reasonable suggestion?” asked Coun. Murray Martin, noting that with more firms bidding, the project would likely have been within budget.
“People aren’t as hungry as they might otherwise have been because of the stimulus funding,” agreed Kennaley.
The township will fund the budget shortfall by drawing equal amounts from its water and sewer reserve funds, explained director of finance Richard Petherick.
More importantly to residents who live in those areas, construction and the resultant disruptions are expected to last some six months. Work is set to begin May 3, wrapping up Oct. 29, starting in the south and moving north through three phases of construction.