A major reconstruction project slated for this summer will be split in two – with part of the work taking place in 2021 and part in 2022 – to reduce the risk of delays and cost increases at the hands of the ongoing pandemic and striking Hydro workers.
Selkirk Chief Administrative Officer Duane Nicol said moving some of the work to 2022 is an intentional effort to mitigate potential risk that both the COVID-19 pandemic and the strike by Manitoba Hydro workers presents.
“The Manitoba Hydro strike is happening right now, and we have no way of knowing how that’s going to play out over the next number of months so that creates a risk for the city and in an effort to reduce that risk we’re going to separate the project into two phases,” Nicol said.
Avoiding delays, less impact on businesses
Manitoba Hydro will be moving overhead wires along Eveline and putting them underground and that work will go ahead this year. Manitoba Hydro advises that once agreements are signed, there is a minimum 120-day timeline before work commences.
“The strike may impact that minimum timeline, so we want to give Hydro a large window of opportunity to get this part of the project done in 2021 because it has to be completed before we can reconstruct the street and the sidewalks and all the other improvements that will be done,” Director of Operations Dan McDermid said.
In addition to the risk posed by the Hydro strike, Nicol said that the global COVID pandemic has introduced the potential for labour shortages due to outbreaks and significant supply challenges due to interrupted production and transportation restrictions.
“We’re using what we learned during the Manitoba Avenue reconstruction about the delays that COVID can cause, the economic impact a broken supply chain can have on a project and we’re pre-ordering materials in 2021 for work that will now take place in 2022.”
Nicol said they already know that there’s a shortage of paving stones due to the pandemic, similar to a delay with lighting and benches during the Manitoba Avenue project.
“We’ll be pre-purchasing some of these items in 2021 so that they’re ready to go in 2022,” he said.
Having materials ordered and delivered before street construction starts will mean less impact on area businesses.
“We can anticipate that the impact on businesses will be lower because when construction doesn’t go smoothly, that’s when they’re most impacted. Securing all the necessary materials in 2021 will reduce the risk of construction delays in 2022. McDermid said.
Having materials pre-ordered should also avoid cost overruns that occur when you have to bring crews back to work after delays.
Underground work to be completed in 2021
“The city also has some land drainage work and other water and sewer work, so in other words, all the underground work will still be done in 2021,” McDermid said.
Nicol says the Eveline Street reconstruction project is an important project and these measures will strategically reduce the risk of long delays and expensive cost overruns.
“This is a huge project. We’re rebuilding seven city blocks of road, sidewalk and boulevard all at once. It’s the largest single city street rebuild in Selkirk in decades – if not ever. We have to do this right. Taking this extra time is just good project management,” he said.