Storm sewer upgrade project costs district further $73,000

The district has to pay $73,485 extra for repeated problems and delays arising during a storm sewer project.

These holdups resulted in two weeks of uncompensated standby time to Mission Contractor, according to a report submitted to council July 15.

Although the contractor could have claimed $26,000 in compensation, it waived this because district staff had to ask council to approve extra costs not in the original contract agreement. These have since been approved by council.

The $415,000 contract was awarded in May for storm sewer upgrades to Clegg Street, 14 Avenue, and North Railway Avenue.

Workers were digging on Clegg Street June 23 to install a storm sewer pipe when they encountered a Fortis gas line at a different depth than expected.

The district’s director of engineering and public works, Rick Bomhof, said a test dig had been done before excavation to determine the gas line’s depth. But when work began, the contractor found the line made an s-curve deeper into the ground.

The contractor was forced by the district to delay work while Fortis repaired the line.

Then on July 8 the contractor moved to North Railway to fix a collapsed storm pipe, but on the first day of excavation unexpected underground soil conditions forced them to stop working again.

“It’s like Murphy’s Law on this project,” said Bomhof. “What could go wrong, did go wrong.”

Bomhof said the district makes every attempt to anticipate problems, but sometimes it isn’t possible.

“When you start digging, you just don’t know for sure what you’re going to find underneath.”

As well, one of the manholes at 14 Avenue and Orchid Street was found to be too small and a new one was required. Despite this being known by staff at the time the contract was awarded, an error omitted it from inclusion in the bid.

The district will now pay $34,000 for a new manhole and catchbasins; $8,600 for work related to the Fortis gas line; $2,500 for an asphalt chute; $800 for a new sump manhole; and $27,585 for lightweight fill material.

The unexpected costs will require $55,079 to be drawn from the improvements next to subdivisions account, with the balance from the general drainage account.

A pre-agreed $30,000 contingency fund will not be touched to allow for any additional unknown issues.

This raises the total contract cost to $488,730.30.

According to Bomhof, work on the project was to recommence this week.