Todd Hewitt

Creek Road tender approved, reconstruction to start in the fall

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Creek Road will be getting some long overdue reconstruction, but that reconstruction will not include bike lanes.

Town council approved a tender from Jeff Shepley Excavating Ltd. in the amount of $1,512,223.50 plus HST to rebuild the roadway. The motion to approve the tender was passed Monday night, but Councillor Rick Fryer questioned why the tender took so long to come before council considering the project was approved during budget sessions in late 2017.

“We approved Creek Road a long time ago,” said Fryer. “Why is it taking six to seven months to get the tender approved?”

Fryer questioned whether the town was “missing the boat” in terms of getting favourable pricing by not getting the tenders out sooner. He wondered if getting engineering work done ahead of time would prove to be beneficial to the town.

Manager of engineering Todd Hewitt said that is the direction they are going, noting they are doing pre-engineering work on two more projects.

Councillor Diane Pouget asked about the start time and how long the project would take, with Hewitt stating that construction could be underway in September with a November finish. Fryer asked what impact that would have on school bus routes.

“That’s going to make it difficult,” Hewitt admitted.

Hewitt added work still has to be done with the contractor with regards to road closures and where bus stops could be.

Creek Road will be replaced this fall, with work anticipated to begin in September. This is the view of the road from the intersection at South Side Road looking south.

Fryer had further concerns, as he questioned about whether there would be bike lanes.

“On that road, are we allowing for bike lanes and walking lanes?” he asked.

Fryer noted it is a “primary route for cyclists” but Hewitt responded by stating that while a one-metre paved shoulder was put into the original tender, that tender came back in at $2.287 million. That is roughly $550,000 over budget with Hewitt stating the project was then re-tendered. The low bid on the original tender was put in by a different contractor, he added.

The road would still have a wider road base and a one-meter shoulder, Hewitt said, the latter providing the base for a paved shoulder if council wants to put one in sometime in the future.

Amherstburg moving ahead with major forcemain project

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A major infrastructure project is proceeding with that project that has been said to allow for hundreds of homes to be built in the Golfview and Kingsbridge areas.

Town council awarded a tender to J&J Lepera Infrastructures with the work to be done to upgrade pump stations in the area and to construct a forcemain to divert wastewater to the Amherstburg sewage treatment plant.

Total cost of this phase of the project is $8.9 million but a developer is contributing approximately $917,000 for pump station improvements. This is the second of three phases of the Edgewater Diversion Project.

Manager of engineering Todd Hewitt indicated that is the normal course of action as developers are responsible for moving sewage while the town is required to receive the sewage.

“That’s what the project is doing,” said Hewitt.

Hewitt told town council at a special meeting last Wednesday afternoon that he couldn’t estimate a work schedule until after the project was awarded but hoped work crews would be in full swing by mid-August. Installing the forcemain will involve tearing up Front Road North (County Road 20) from roughly the Edgewater area to Alma St. It is expected to reduce the highway from four lanes to two during the construction period.

“It’s a pretty aggressive timeline to get it done,” said Hewitt.

The timeline to complete the forcemain is Nov. 30, he stated, with the pump station due for completion by March 1, 2019. Kingsbridge developer Mike Dunn told town council he will be able to proceed with 700 homes once this phase of the project is completed.

“That’s good news for the town,” responded Councillor Rick Fryer.

Hewitt indicated that there could be “other opportunities for development” for the lands in the Edgewater sewage area other than Kingsbridge.

Councillor Leo Meloche questioned why the project cost was coming in higher than projected. Hewitt stated the town received two tenders for the work.

“It tells you the remainder of the contractors are very busy and unable to tender the work,” said Hewitt.

Comparisons were also done of similar projects in other municipalities, he added, and that costs tended to come in 15-20 per cent higher than original estimates.

As part of his written report to town council, Hewitt stated: “The Town has invested significant dollars to upgrade and expand the Amherstburg Wastewater Treatment Plant and upgrade the Pump Station No. 2. The recommended works in this report are the final steps to allow the Edgewater Lagoons to be decommissioned and to utilize the capacity built into the treatment plant. By not moving forward on this project the Town could risk potential fines and additional costs from the MOECC (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change) for not addressing the issues with respect to the early discharges at the Edgewater lagoons. The Edgewater Lagoons are currently at capacity. Not approving this project will end future residential development in this area until sewage capacity is increased. This project will allow for residential development and growth to move forward in this area, specifically North Kingsbridge, which has been at a standstill for many years due to the lack of capacity in the Edgewater system.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said it was big news for the town, stating at least 700 new homes are coming to the town.

“It’s definitely some nice closure on a very big project that has literally held back the town and development,” said DiCarlo. “I think the big news is really the homes.”

DiCarlo stated that while there have been some new builds in the area, developers have had restrictions on what can be constructed. He is hopeful the forcemain will be operational by the end of the year.

“We’re definitely going to get on it ASAP,” said the mayor.

The Edgewater lagoons should be decommissioned next year with the estimated cost of that phase being just over $1 million.

“We have made major investments in water infrastructure,” said DiCarlo.

The overall cost of the project, including all three phases, is approximately $14 million. Grant funding received in 2015 provided $5.8 million with $1.8 million being used on the current phase that will be done this year.

Town orders another $146,000 in LED light fixtures

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Due to a shortfall in LED lights, the Town of Amherstburg has ordered 210 more in order to complete the project.

Town council authorized the purchase and installation of 210 more fixtures to complete the LED light conversion project “in an amount not to exceed $145,800 plus HST.” The town states the total contract value is not to exceed $1,332,556 plus HST.

The town accepted a proposal for the completion of the 2018 LED streetlight conversion program, reported manager of engineering Todd Hewitt in his report to council. The contract was awarded to Anchor Hydro Feb. 28 and the project began in April.

“Anchor Hydro has completed a field verification of the light fixtures required to complete the conversion of the Town’s streetlights to LED fixtures. Through that process it has been determined that the Town requires a further 210 cobrahead streetlights to complete the conversion, over and above the estimated 1,443 identified in for the project for a total of 1,653 fixtures.”

The Town of Amherstburg has authorized the purchase and installation of 210 more LED light fixtures at an amount not to exceed $145,800 plus HST. Pictured are the lights that are on Murray St. Many of the new LED lights have been installed but the new lights will bring the total up to 1,653 total fixtures.

Hewitt added: “Administration has reviewed the data used for the project scoping and procurement process, and have determined that the majority of the variance relates to streetlights being incorrectly listed in the Town’s Tangible Capital Asset (TCA) inventory as ‘County owned.’ It is believed the data error may have arisen because the majority of those streetlights were located along County roads. As only Town owned assets were identified for replacement, the lights marked as County owned were excluded from the TCA inventory list provided for the RFP; however it has since been determined that that the Town owns the fixtures. The balance of the discrepancy appears to have resulted from incorrect TCA inventory data captured when the asset inventory was initialized in 2008. Administration will continue to review and refine the Town’s TCA inventory and Asset Management Plan to capture complete and accurate data.”

CAO John Miceli states they are continuing to update its asset management plan and acknowledged “there are some gaps” and the town is trying to correct things in the future.

Miceli added that residents are happy with the new LED lights.

“We made the decision to add the lights and extend the scope of the contract,” Miceli said of the new 210 fixtures. Though they were ordered after the initial number of lights, installation isn’t expected to be delayed.

 

Angstrom Cr. residents fed up with condition of roadway

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Residents of Angstrom Dr. have had it with the condition of their road and want the town to make it a priority.

The roadway has fallen into disrepair with residents along the street, which runs off of Pointe West Dr., stating they and other neighbours have suffered injuries due to the concrete road cracking and heaving.

A group of concerned neighbours met with the RTT last Wednesday evening and also attended Monday night’s town council meeting. At the latter, council members voiced sympathy to the residents’ plight and will conduct a further investigation into the matter but some were quick to point out other roads need tending to as well.

Zane Handysides represented residents at Monday night’s meeting, telling town council “the road is getting worse as time goes on.”

“It’s becoming a liability for homeowners,” he said. “We just want our road to be repaired. It’s simply disintegrating around us.”

Handysides said they are “looking for a long-term solution” and “we need to get that road on the replacement side, not the repair side. The road is, quite frankly, embarrassing and I believe, unsafe.”

Residents recalled stories to the RTT last week of meeting with prior mayors and council members but not getting anything but patchwork to the road in return.

“I called 13 years ago when I first moved in,” said Nicole Sekela. “I couldn’t believe the state of the road.”

Residents of Angstrom Cr. are looking for
replacement of their road. They note the cement road is cracking and heaving and repairs aren’t doing anything positive.

Roger Racette, another resident on the street, claimed that he has had to replace springs and the sway bar on his vehicle twice due to the state of the road.

Racette said he brought a chunk of concrete to town hall before while said Sekela she called the town daily at one point to seek action. Sekela added that while residents in the rural areas have noise concerns over rumble strips, the cracks along their road make noise too.

“It sounds like someone has a flat tire when they go by,” she said.

Todd Laliberte believes the fact the road is currently concrete works against him, though neighbours believe it would just have to be cut six inches from the curb and removed. The residents say they are simply looking for asphalt.

The residents want Angstrom Dr. moved up on the town’s list of priorities for repair. Patching the road doesn’t work, they state, with Handysides stating last week that it eventually comes up and ends up on their front lawns.

“We’re not looking for anything special,” he said. “Just a normal, paved, asphalt road.”

“We can’t drive straight,” added Sekela last Wednesday, noting they weave around heaving concrete and holes to get off their road.

The road has dropped on the roads needs study, with numbers ranging from 170 to 183, Monday night in terms of where it is placed.

Todd Hewitt, manager of engineering for the town, said some roads are divided into several sections so the same road could be on there multiple times. He said the study was done in 2016 by an independent consultant.

“I’m not disagreeing that the road is in disrepair,” he told council Monday night, but added there are “a number of roads ahead of Angstrom Cr. in the study.

Hewitt gave a rough estimate of $350,000-$400,000 to fix Angstrom Cr.

Residents have been erecting signage along Angstrom Cr. to urge the town to replace the street. (Submitted photo)

Councillor Rick Fryer, who has raised the state of the road before at town council meetings, said the road is “pathetic” and believes it has been forgotten about. He said he was “sick and tired” of hearing of people getting hurt on that road.

“I got hurt on a section of sidewalk that wasn’t repaired by the town,” he reminded his council colleagues.

Fryer added that the town has gone down the roads needs study before and planned to re-do roads that were not at the top of it, citing Creek Road, though public works said Creek Road was second and fifth in the study as it was divided into two sections.

Councillor Jason Lavigne noted there have been recent pleas to look at other roads at recent council meetings, as Concession 2 North and South Riverview Dr. have been discussed at previous meetings. Lavigne acknowledged he is a former Angstrom Cr. resident and said the road is in “horrible condition.” He added his belief that previous councils didn’t spend the money they should have on roads and now the town faces a cost of about $260 million to repair them.

“There’s a lot of road issues we’ve inherited,” he said.

Councillor Leo Meloche agreed there are other roads that need attention, stating he knows of another road where he said Canada Post won’t even go down it to deliver mail.

“This council is trying to allocate funds to do major repairs and stop band-aid solutions,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “We definitely hear (the residents’) point and administration will bring back a report.”

 

 

Town receives funding to add more bike lanes

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg is hoping to add one, or perhaps two, new bike lanes thanks to funding it has secured from the province.

Amherstburg has secured $97,259.51 from the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling (OMCC) program and town council has authorized administration to enter into a transfer payment agreement with the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to obtain the funding.

Both projects identified qualified for OMCC funding, manager of engineering Todd Hewitt stated in his report to town council, with those projects being the installation of paved shoulders on Alma St. from Meloche Road to Fryer St. and the installation of a second bike lane along County Road 20 from Dalhousie St. to Front Road South (Amherst Pointe).

“There is currently no budget dollars assigned to either of the eligible projects and one or both of the projects will be included in the future budgets for council consideration,” Hewitt said in his report to council. “The project(s) must be completed by December 30, 2020 to utilize the OMCC funding.”

Hewitt said the Alma St. project carries an initial estimate of $487,500 with 40 per cent of that project eligible for CWATS funding from the County of Essex.

A paved shoulder/bike lane on the other side of County Road 20 – that stretch has a bike lane on the east side of the road – has an initial estimated cost of $500,000, said Hewitt. That project would also be eligible for 40 per cent funding through CWATS.

Unless the CWATS committee expands the number of identified projects they wish to pursue, this would be it for Amherstburg’s share of projects.

“Once these two programs are done, from a CWATS perspective, we’re done,” advised Hewitt.

Councillor Leo Meloche said more needs to be done in the McGregor area, believing there is a need for more paved shoulders and trails to allow McGregor residents better walking access to parks. Councillor Rick Fryer agreed, saying there are areas of McGregor that need to be connected to ERCA’s Cypher Systems Greenway. That greenway trail runs through McGregor.