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Mission council approves $18.9 million contract to complete sewer crossing

Fraser River Pile and Dredge expected start work in September, finish by spring 2022
The new pipe has already been installed under shores of both Abbotsford and Mission, but the dredging of the river to complete the 950-metre underwater portion has waited on addition funds. / City of Mission photo

The City of Mission has awarded an $18.9 million contract to complete the long-stalled sewer crossing across the Fraser River.

Council voted unanimously on Aug. 17 to procure Fraser River Pile and Dredge (FRPD) to complete the forcemain to Abbotsford’s James Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Work is slated to begin by Sept. 14 and be completed by spring 2022.

“It feels as though a mountain has been climbed,” said Mayor Paul Horn. “It’s reassuring that we can begin the work this fall, and exciting to see this work happening on our waterfront.”

The contract bid was posted on Aug. 10, and two proposals were received, with FRPD scoring highest and considered the best value, according to a report to council.

Another $3.8 million has been allocated for potential cost overruns, along with $1.7 million in estimated consulting costs, $35,000 for quality assurance, $20,000 in land agreements and another $20,000 for legal fees.

The “industry standard” contract will be administered by a third party hired by the city, said Jay Jackman, manager of development engineering, projects and design.

He said any overrun charges from the contractor need to be validated by the administrator and signed off by Mission’s director of engineering and public works.

If the overruns exceed the $3.8 million set aside, “It’s an all stop, until we come back to council and seek a budget amendment,” Jackman said.

Horn directed staff to make periodical reports to council on the status of the project’s budget.

A large portion of estimated $1 million in consulting costs is related to an “expensive endeavour” to bore soil samples from the bottom of the Fraser River, a task needed to satisfy stakeholders to the quality of the sand, according to Jackman.

The remaining $750,000 is allocated for environmental consulting.

The property will have restricted access throughout the construction period, according to chief administrative officer Mike Younie.

He said this will prevent public access from London Avenue at Herman S. Braich Boulevard, as well as a portion of the Mission Raceway Park driveway.

The project to replace the nearly 40-year-old sewer line has hit blockage after blockage since the city first received a nearly $7 million federal grant in 2017.

Cost overruns exploded in 2018, doubling the budget estimates and halting work until additional funding could be secured.

Disputes with the landowners (the Braich family) followed, as a portion of the pipeline had already been installed under their property.

Meanwhile, experts warned of the potential for environmental disaster as the growing city kept adding pressure to a pipeline that had already reached capacity.

A grant of $11 million was provided by the province in early 2021, and an agreement with the Braich family was reached in July 2021 to allow the installation of the remaining pipe and placement of dredged sand.

To date, approximately $11 million has been spent on the completed land portions of the project; $6.5 million of which was grant funds, with another $350,000 to be collected, according to Younie.

The project’s overall budget is $33.7 million.

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