The site of a a multi-million project to construct a vehicle inspection station immediately adjacent to Hwy 16 in Thornhill, in the area of Novotny St. and Kirkaldy St., on Feb. 11, 2022. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)

The site of a a multi-million project to construct a vehicle inspection station immediately adjacent to Hwy 16 in Thornhill, in the area of Novotny St. and Kirkaldy St., on Feb. 11, 2022. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)

Thornhill inspection station contracts so far have been untendered

The practice is fairly common, says government ministry

The provincial transportation and infrastructure ministry has chosen not to go out to tender for the first portions of a multi-million project to construct a vehicle inspection station immediately adjacent to Hwy 16 in Thornhill.

Instead it has and will rely on a series of untendered contracts estimated to cost in the neighbourhood $150,000 to clear the site in the area of Novotny St. and Kirkaldy St.

So far, the ministry has hired Kitselas Forestry, an entity of the Kitselas First Nation, and Emil Anderson Maintenance, the relatively-new highways maintenance contractor in this region.

“The ministry frequently uses local contractors, hired equipment, and local maintenance contractors to deliver smaller projects or pre-work for larger projects,” the ministry said in a provided statement.

“Other equipment and operators will also be hired locally. Those contractors have not yet been determined.”

After deciding not to tender contracts, the ministry uses a registry of local contractors who list the kind of equipment they have. Work is assigned by seniority based on an average of three years of accumulated work hours.

Highways maintenance companies such as Emil Anderson also have provisions in their contracts with the province such that they can be hired for additional work.

The ministry also hires equipment on day labour rates, something that will also occur on the work now going on at the inspection station site.

“These additional hired equipment and contractors are hired at an hourly rate using a roster process, and may include excavators, dump trucks, dozers, wheel loaders, traffic control, labourers, and any related sub-contractors,” the ministry statement continued.

The entire project is set to cost $34.2 million and is being financed with $15 million from the federal government and $19.2 million from the provincial government.

The construction contract will go out to tender and that is expected to happen soon.

Complementary work took place last year to embed a sensor pad in a portion of Hwy16 near the vehicle inspection station location so that trucks rolling over it at highway speeds will electronically collect height, weight and safety credentials. That’s intended to keep commercial traffic moving without having to stop and report in.

Aside from a building, the station area will have room for five short term truck stalls and 10 overnight stalls with services such as refrigeration unit plug-ins, Wi-Fi and CCTV.