Run-off, rocks, pandemic adds costs to Paradise public works projects

By Mark Squibb/January 27, 2022

Paradise council approved multiple change requests last week, some big, and some small, as part of its regular public works housekeeping.

The first on the agenda was a change order to the 2021 Street Rehab program.

“Prior to the rehabilitation of Hussey’s Road, residents had made repeated pleas to council to upgrade the road to address water run off issues, and resulting road defects,” explained infrastructure and engineering committee chairperson Deborah Quilty. “Residents were requesting a full rural-to-urban upgrade that would introduce a full storm system. As an upgrade of this nature was not planned or budgeted, staff determined the introduction of drainage ditches, designed in place to suit conditions during the rehabilitation, would be the best cost-effective solution to address all concerns.”

Quilty added that if the drainage issue wasn’t addressed, the life span of the newly rehabilitated road would be greatly reduced. And so, the ditch was installed in 2021, along with the necessary supports such as culverts, riprap, and a manhole.

The work was not included in the original tender, and the final cost could not be determined at the time of construction because the ditch was designed in place and final unit prices were not known until the work was completed.

“Weir’s Construction provided the following unit prices, which were well within expected costs, or even below this type of work,” said Quilty. “For example, the culvert installation, $12,350.50, the riprap installation, $7,500, the ditching at a cost of $5,257, and the cast in-place manhole, which was one at a cost of $2,608.69.”

The total cost of the additional work is $31,873 including HST, which was unanimously approved by council.

The next change order was for a fence on Diane Whalen Drive.

Quilty explained that on June 1, 2021, council awarded Pro Edge Construction and Maintenance a contract to build a privacy fence. The contract was valued at $41,630, including HST.

However, when the work began in December, construction crews found the soil was too rocky. The decision was made to switch building materials, opting for concrete instead of sonotube concrete foam. The concrete also required frost protection due to the cold temperatures.

The fence was completed by December 17, and the town received a revised invoice reflecting the additional costs, which totalled an extra $3,284.80, including HST. That brought the total contract value to some $44,914, including HST.

Council approved the change order unanimously.

The next change order was for phase 4 of the Paradise Road project.

The town had hired Pinnacle Engineering to complete a design and provide contract administration and full-time inspections of phase 4 construction.

“At the time of the signing of the agreement, there were 90 working days based on the funding amount at the time,” said Quilty. However, once the design was completed and the project issued for tender, the construction time had increased from 90 days to 135 days to reflect issues which arose during the design period, such as the contract spanning two construction seasons due to delays created by the pandemic.

“In addition to the 135 working days, the town has also approved an additional seven working days in contractor change order number one, which brings the total approved working days to 142 days,” she continued.

Despite adding the additional days, construction lasted even longer due to changes that became necessary during construction, such as the narrowing of the road and reinstatement agreements with some residents.

As a result, Pinnacle requested a contract change order for an additional 112 extra days, 52 of which were already approved. The remaining 60 days, said Quilty, is for time that has been worked, but not yet approved by council.

“The contractor, Modern Paving, will be liable for any additional engineering fees incurred beyond the approved working days,” Quilty noted.

The project was planned with some $410,000 in Gas Tax funding earmarked for it. Currently, the project is costing an additional $259,590, although Quilty said she hopes savings from unused line items can be applied to it.

“There is potential to apply for additional gas tax funds to decrease the deficit once all project costs have been finalized,” she added.

That change order was also approved unanimously.

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