Bonnechere Excavating Inc., a Renfrew-based construction firm, has been awarded a $9,900,476 contract for the rehabilitation of eight streets in the town.
At the May 9 council meeting, Councillor Kyle Cybulski, Chair of the Infrastructure, Public Works and Asset Management Committee, said in addition to the $9.9million contract, there is an overage of almost $2.6 million, increasing the budget to $11,582,793 million and the town needs to find funding to cover the overage for the project to proceed. The original budget was set at $8,952,574.
“We had a very lengthy and constructive debate on the project and this is a big one,” he said. “It includes eight roads and all the bids have been received and all of them came in over budget. We are looking at $2.6 million over budget and we have decided to proceed. These are big roads and they are important roads in Renfrew and it is really hard to say no to the community at this point.”
The Argyle/Lochiel Reconstruction Project is scheduled to begin this year.
Both Argyle and Lochiel streets are in dire shape as a result of the previous downtown reconstruction project. That project diverted traffic on to the two streets and the impact of that diversion, which included large trucks hauling thousands of tonnes of materials daily, caused significant damage to the road surface.
In addition to the large holes and potholes, the additional pressure on the underground infrastructure resulted in work that needs immediate repair and replacement. The sidewalks are also decaying and, in some areas, large chunks of cement have decayed, leaving some sections inaccessible for persons using assistive devices such as wheelchairs or scooters.
Councillor Cybulski explained the project includes grants from various programs and all are applied to this project. He added any attempt to apply grant money to other projects would result in major delays and the entire scope of the project may not be completed.
He noted an ICIP Green Steam Grant in the amount of $3,666,481 has been approved and it will be applied to the water component of the project. This grant is directed towards watermains on Argyle St. (North and South); Lochiel St. South (Munroe Ave. W. to Opeongo Rd); Lochiel St. North (Bridge St. to Lisgar Ave); Opeongo Road (Argyle St. S. to Bonnechere St. S.); Hall Ave (Plaunt St. S. to Barr St.); Prince Ave. (Lochiel St. to Argyle St.); Patrick Ave. (Lochiel St. to Argyle St.) and Barry Ave. (Lochiel St. to Argyle St.).
Connor Jamieson, Acting Director of Infrastructure and Public Works, explained the need to apply the water grant into the roads project.
“In order to receive the grant, the entire amount has to be used for water main upgrades or replacements, so that drove this grant, and the roads selected for construction also needed water main upgrades. That is why the eight roads were selected,” he said. “The money can only be applied to the actual water mains and the road surface above. It does not apply to sidewalks or other associated infrastructure.”
He explained the roads within the project have aging cast iron water mains and the roads and sidewalks above are in poor condition. The rehabilitation of the remainder of the road and sidewalks is optional, but removal of a large scope could require retendering, leading to project delays and inflationary pressures.
He said in addition to the actual road upgrades, the project also includes a new multi-use pathway constructed along the south side of Hall Ave. from Veterans Memorial Blvd. to Barr St. and a realignment of Opeongo Road. This multi-use path would be extended to Gillan Road as part of a separate capital project.
The breakdown of the budget has $4,906,124 earmarked for roads, sidewalks and storm sewers which represents 42.5 percent of project costs. The water component is set at $5,776,151, representing 49.8 percent of the costs and the remaining $900,517 is allocated for sanitary works which works out to 7.7 percent.
By Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on May 19, 2023 at 11:58