CORNWALL, Ontario – If you are a motorist in the City of Cornwall, it may come as a relief to hear that the CN railway overpass construction on Brookdale Ave. is set to be nearly complete by Sunday, Dec. 15. Both northbound and southbound lanes will be open for traffic.
The project, which commenced on Aug. 19, 2018, was set to be completed by Aug. 30, 2019. Now in the last month of the year, the project contractor Landform Civil Infrastrucutures of Hamilton stated that crews will demobilize from the site 107 days, or over three months, later than anticipated.
“The contractor has not met the completion date stipulated in the contract of Aug. 30, 2019,” said Michael Fawthrop, City Infrastructure Division Manager. “Once it became apparent that the contractor was not going to meet the contractual completion date, the contractor provided the City with an updated project schedule which indicated that the overpass was to be re-opened to two lanes of traffic by the end of October. Unfortunately, the contractor failed to meet this timeline as well. The contractor has indicated to the City that the bridge will be re-opened to two lanes of traffic by end of this week (Dec. 1 to 7) or early next week (Dec. 8 to 14). The contractor is slated to demobilize from the site by December 15.”
While the project failed to meet its timeline requirements, it also failed to meet its completion requirements, with work still remaining for 2020. Fawthrop contends that the work remaining ‘is a relatively minor amount’ and ‘will not be a significant or prolonged disruption to traffic’, including the resurfacing and paving of the bridge approaches, as well as ‘address(ing) any deficiencies if needed’.
“Unfortunately, the contractor has not met the contractual deadline to have the project substantially complete nor have they met subsequent schedules/deadlines they have communicated to the City…” said Fawthrop. “The City continues to work with the contractor to get the overpass re-opened and the project completed as soon as possible.”
With a total price tag of over $5 million awarded to Landform Civil Infrastrucutures, the project is set to remain on budget despite its timeline and completion shortcomings.
“The project remains within the tendered amount; however, this is a unit rate contract (similar to almost all City infrastructure projects) and final quantities/payments are still being completed,” said Fawthrop.
Fawthrop explained that in a unit rate contract, the contractor is paid based on the quantity of work completed, regardless of the time it took to complete. Quantities for respective items utilized in the project, such as asphalt, are estimated (prior) and the contractor submits a unit price for each item.
“Although the contractor has not met the project schedule, the City would not pay for the additional time it took as we pay for the quantity of work completed,” said Fawthrop.
In the 2015 to 2017 capital budgets, $3.5 million was budgeted for the construction component of the project. As Brookdale Ave. is considered a ‘Connecting Link’ the City applied and received the maximum contribution of $3 million through the Provincial Connecting Link Program. In the 2015 to 2016 capital budgets, the City contributed $538,000 to the project, with $300,000 allocated to the construction and the remaining $238,000 to be used for engineering design services and emergency repairs. Council approved to borrow the additional $1.36 million at the July 9, 2019 Council meeting.
“Once the project is completed, the Finance department will go out for competitive borrowing rates. Following this process, a by-law to borrow from the successful institution will be brought to Council for approval. The debt/repayment schedule would be known at that time,” said Fawthrop.
Fawthrop assured there are no current safety risks associated with the overpass nor will there be any when the contractor leaves the site on December 15.