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A lot more of Trunk Rd. may be torn up this year than anyone expected

Low bid on the project was almost inconceivably low. So city staff want to resurface a lot more this year
06-29-2019 East End Husky 3
East End Husky. David Helwig/SooToday

This summer's planned resurfacing of Trunk Road may be a much bigger project than expected after Monday's City Council meeting.

The $3.4 million project was to pave a 1.6-kilometre stretch of Trunk Road from the city's east limit (near the turnoff at Superior Advertising) to the East End Husky at 1275 Trunk.

But construction tenders have been coming in very low this year, and Pioneer Construction Inc.'s low bid on Trunk Road job was almost inconceivably low – less than $1.4 million excluding HST.

The Ontario government, which is providing $3 million of the cost under its connecting links program, has agreed to allow a 2.4-kilometre stretch from the Husky to South Market Street near Food Basics to be added to the project.

Even with the addition, total cost of the Trunk Road work is expected to come to just $3.16 million.

With no time to re-tender the work in time for the 2020 construction season, Carl Rumiel, the city's manager of design and transportation engineering, will ask City Council to extend the scope of the project so Pioneer Construction can complete it.

Rumiel will cite these reasons for not tendering:

  • tendering the project when previous bidder’s unit costs are already known is unfair to suppliers
  • tendering the second phase/section of Trunk Road would cause delay and a potential increase to the taxpayer
  • delay will affect the number of days the contractor will have to complete the work, resulting in the potential of all the work not being accomplished in this construction year, and will increase the potential of not meeting funding deadlines
  • the Ministry of Transportation has approved this extra work
  • getting the work done in 2020 will result in the maximum amount of savings for taxpayers in that the city will be able to take advantage of the extremely low prices. There is no guarantee that paving prices will ever be this low again
  • by accomplishing this, the city will be able to apply for the next sections of the connecting link network sooner than planned
  • it allows the city to provide safer roads with less money and earlier completion
  • if a different contractor were to be awarded the second section of the work, it results in Ministry of Labour complications as to who is the constructor on the project
  • if a different contractor were to be awarded the second section of the work, there will be added complexity in closing lanes and in achieving consistent traffic control, with two different sets of traffic control rules, putting the public, and potentially the workers at an increased risk
  • a second contractor will result in substantial additional administrative effort by the engineering department

Monday's City Council meeting will be held by teleconference because of restrictions on public meetings related to the COVIC-19 emergency.

The meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.


David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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