Construction lull creating savings for new projects
A lull in construction activity that’s being blamed on last week’s provincial election has helped two area municipalities save money on at least one planned project.
Tenders for paving the Burnt Timber Road have come in considerably under the $5.4 million budget, said Michael MacLean, Mountain View County’s new director of operations who started last month.
“When looking at $2.4 million (lower than budgeted), that is significant,” said MacLean.
He, along with the county’s director of corporate services, attributes the lower tenders to the provincial election called March 26.
“The province basically froze all their activity until after the election,” said MacLean.
That has created a surplus of contractors with manpower and equipment, said Div. 1 Coun. Kevin Good.
“It isn’t just one contractor, it’s across the province. They’re hungry, hungry, hungry,” said Good.
Not all the cost savings from the lower tender for the Burnt Timber Road will go to Mountain View County, though.
The project is planned as a partnership with the MD of Bighorn and Shell Canada.
The road was originally constructed in 1989 as a partnership between the Province of Alberta, Shell Canada, Mountain View County, and the MD of Bighorn to provide access to the Burnt Timber Gas Plant.
Paved in 1991 to provide road ban-free access, the asphalt is showing distress and both municipalities have dedicated large amounts to its repair.
If it’s not repaved, operations services says a seasonal or even permanent ban may be required to protect the road.
The total cost of the project was budgeted at $5.4 million with Shell Canada footing $1.25 million of the bill, Mountain View County $904,500, the MD of Bighorn $548,000 and Resource Road grants from the province in the amount of $2.7 million.
Mountain View County councillors asked its administration last week to review other planned capital projects to see if any are “shovel ready” in order to capitalize on what Good called a unique situation.
“Don’t limit your suggestions in my opinion, to just the savings we’ve incurred on this resource road - make it broad,” said Good.
During a Policies and Priorities meeting last Wednesday, councillors discussed at least one road project that had been planned to take place over two years and wondered if it could be pushed back into one year.
Administration said it would review projects to see if there were other opportunities for cost savings.