New features knock Karwood Drive crosswalk over budget

By Mark Squibb/September 2, 2022

A new crosswalk that will grant people enjoying the T’railway safer passage across busy Karwood Drive has come in over budget.

The crosswalk, pedestrian island, accessible curb, signage and pedestrian beacons were installed to allow folks using the T’railway to cross Karwood safely, instead of walking up to the nearby Topsail Road/Karwood Drive intersection and crossing there.

“During construction, some improvements were identified and approved by staff in order to keep the project moving,” explained councillor Deborah Quilty. “The contractor needed an answer prior to pouring concrete. All changes are justified through alignment with pillars of the Your Paradise Strategic Plan 2022. The contemplated change order now requires council approval.”

Three additional pieces of work were approved.

First, a buried storm sewer manhole was discovered within the work area, and a new manhole frame and cover were installed.

The cost for that was $1,950, plus HST.

Staff also approved the inclusion of approach aprons to transition from the concrete sidewalk and paved crosswalk to the gravel T’railway.

“These aprons are used at other T’railway road crossing to improve accessibility and decrease maintenance,” said Quilty. “One concrete apron extending partly along the trail at each side of the road from the sidewalk is required.”

That work cost $6,500, plus HST.

Finally, four sets of ADA warning pads, which help the visually impaired, were  installed at a cost of $4,000, plus HST.

“These warning pads are used exclusively on new projects in neighbouring municipalities, and is a trend that is likely to continue,” said Quilty.

The total cost of all the changes is $14,300, HST included.

The Town had budgeted $75,000 for the project. The original contract was awarded back in June for $76,980. Adding in the costs of the change order, the project will cost $91,290, including HST— roughly $16,290 overbudget. The extra money will be taken out of the Street Rehab and Road Maintenance budget.

Council approved the changes unanimously, though a few coucillors raised concerns about the motion.

Councillor Glen Carew wondered if some of the changes might not have been anticipated.

“We see another change order on a town infrastructure project 15 percent of the original tender package,” said Carew. “Outside of the manhole cover, which looks like it was an unforeseen issue, I’m wondering why these added features were not a part of the original tender package? Every overrun on a project means that we have to source those additional funds from other areas of our town budget, putting further stress on town resources. As we see here, it comes form the road rehab budget. So, I’m wondering why these weren’t in the original tender package.”

Neither Quilty nor Director of Infrastructure & Engineering Chris Milley had an exact reason, though Milley offered the additional features were approved to better comply with the Town’s municipal and strategic plans.

He did note that when the plan was put together, the Town had not before used the ADA pads or the concrete aprons and had since been introduced to both.

Councillor Patrick Martin noted it was unfortunate to have a change order, but he was pleased with the changes.

Councillor Elizabeth Laurie echoed Martin’s statements, and added the concrete aprons will cut back on the amount of stray rocks and stones ending up on Karwood Drive.

Councilor Larry Vaters inquired about the buried manhole.

“I’m just wondering if that means that it was not listed on any of our infrastructure asset documentation or databases,” said Vaters, who also inquired whether the project will still be completed before the start of the school year.

“I’m sure the infrastructure would have been included,” said Niblock. “The manhole is just the surface piece that’s connected to major infrastructure underground.”

Niblock confirmed the project is on target to finish before school starts.

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Kimberley Street said that a resident had called her to thank council for the new crosswalk and all of its features.

The motion to approve the new features passed unanimously.

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