SDG rejects over-budget roundabout project bids

A $4.2 million infrastructure plan hit the ditch as bids came back between $1.9 and $3.2 million over budget. The plan will now be scaled back to fit the budget.

SDG – The $4.2 million infrastructure plan to build a roundabout and street-scape in Morrisburg ended up in the ditch when SDG Counties council voted to reject all four tender bids because all were significantly over budget.

Councillors heard in a report by Transportation and Planning Services Director Ben deHaan that while the Counties received four bids on the project, they were $1.9 to $3.2 million over the allotted budget.

“It’s unfortunate that we are in this situation,” deHaan told council. “We had two very competitive bids. We didn’t see anything unbalanced in the bids”.

Estimates for the project costs were made before the pandemic. deHaan said that the resulting over-budget bids were businesses taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are looking at ways of maintaining the fundamental elements of the project but scaling back the project,” he said.

“The main element of the roundabout will be unchanged so the redesign isn’t expected to be as onerous or as time consuming as what we’ve gone through already,” deHaan said. “I hate to be in this situation. I hate to have to do this. I was really hoping for a good news story but this is where we are and we have to continue to move forward.”

Councillor Steven Byvelds (South Dundas) told council that the municipality has already begun to meet with Counties staff about what can be done within the $4.2 million funding envelope.

“We are certainly disappointed in the pricing,” he said. “But we are not going to hold County Council and council of South Dundas to a point where we can’t really afford something.”

Byvelds said that as much as everyone would like to do everything in the original project, “we really can’t spend those kind of dollars.”

He added that everyone involved is being reasonable and that the end result will still do the job that needs to be done.

Options being considered include scaling back the landscaping elements, rationalizing the pedestrian and cycling options, possibly with installing these measures at a later date, and eliminating some of the protected crossings.

Removing medians and changing traffic lane designs are also under consideration, as is going back to an open drainage plan instead of closed storm sewers along County Road 2.

One big change being looked at is reducing the overall length of the project. As planned, the street-scape was to run between Laurier Drive and St. Lawrence Street.

Under the scope review, the project may be reduced to between Pilot Way and the west end of the planned roundabout at County Roads 2 and 31.

deHaan told The Leader after the meeting that the best-case scenario for finalizing the details and going to tender is April.

“We still have to finalize the scope of work with our consultant and then go through ‘proof of concept’ on some of the cost saving measures that we are proposing,” he said. “At this point, we are still intending to be under construction this year.”

Coco Paving had the lowest bid with $6,116,453.45; Cornwall Gravel Company Ltd. was second lowest with a bid of $6,197,643.75; Louis W. Bray Construction Ltd. bid $6,735,392, while R.W. Tomlinson Ltd. had the highest bid at $7,467,613.

deHaan reported to council that the cost of the project redesign will be approximately $50,000. SDG Counties and South Dundas will work together with its consultant, Robinson Consulting Incorporated to revise the project for re-tendering.

The project received 73 per cent of its funding via the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, a Federal-Provincial program.

SDG Counties and the Municipality of South Dundas will split the remaining 27 per cent of the infrastructure project cost.

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