The City of Terrace has shelved just over $1.6 million in two road rebuilding projects this year because no one bid on one project and the one bid that was received for the other project came in at 50 per cent higher than forecast.
Instead, the below and above-ground rebuilds of the 4600 Block of Scott and of Labelle Ave., both located in the Horseshoe, have been moved to the 2023 capital project list for consideration.
The 4600 Block of Scott project was valued at $820,000 and came in at $1.23 million while no one bid on the $800,000 Labelle project.
A third Horseshoe project that is not as extensive as Scott or Labelle, the pulverizing and re-laying asphalt on the 4900 Block of Straume, will go ahead.
“We have started working on the 2023 budget, so we will have a better idea of which projects will need to be bumped from 2022 into 2023, and what that means for the current 2023 capital project list, a little later this summer,” said Ben Reinbolt, city public works manager.
The city apparently faced competition from larger scale industrial projects in the region this year, indicated David Block, the city’s development services director.
“There’s definitely a lot of work going on,” Block told city council in comments on various project costs this year. “Contractors, especially bigger firms that can take on those $1 million projects, the $600,000 projects, are busy.”
The amount of work available this year also means companies can pick and choose projects on which they bid, he continued.
“If there’s any difficulty, uniqueness or challenges, they’re going to go after work that might be easier to make money on,” said Block.
Even factors such as the intricacies of water connections from main lines to residences, a feature of the Labelle project, can affect a company’s decision to bid or not bid, he said.
This is not the first time this year the city has had trouble finding companies to undertake substantial projects as it had to re-tender the completion of the Grand Trunk Pathway west of town to the Kalum Lake Bridge and to build a hard-surface pedestrian and cycle path from downtown adjacent to Lakelse Ave. east to the old Skeena Bridge.
The restructured performance bond provisions and agreed to purchase some materials by itself to encourage companies to bid on the work. And with the Grand Trunk Pathway completion, the city added $387,000 to the budget so that lights could be added along the trail.
Adding both the 4600 Block of Scott and Labelle rebuilds to the 2023 work plan would make for a busy road works season.
Already tentatively planned is a reconstruction of the 5300 Block of Mountain Vista on the Bench, a reconstruction of the 4800 Block of Davis and construction of a roundabout at the top of Lanfear Hill.
Terrace is not the only local government in the northwest facing cost and timing issues with larger-scale public works projects.
The District of Houston, for example, had to advance money intended for road works projects next year to fully finance its road works program this year.