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Friday, May 22, 2020

Wiarton's Big Dig Gets Scaled Down

Wiarton | by Claire McCormack  

A second round of construction bids came in high & the town has cut the project in half.

Wiarton's Big Dig project has been scaled down to half its scope.

"To work within our budget we're going to have to cut the project in half," says Mayor Janice Jackson.

The Town's second request for contractor pricing proposals to tear up Berford Street and replace underground infrastructure including pipes prone to bursting didn't bring in any cheaper bids.

In order to qualify for the Provincial Connecting Links Funding for part of the project, the Town needs to substantially finish it within two years.

Mayor Janice Jackson says what was supposed to be about an $8.5 million dollar job was getting $17 million bids from contractors in March. A second request for bids which closed May 8th, resulted in quotes in the same range.

In order to afford the Big Dig, Jackson says this year, they'll do two blocks (about half the project) from Division Street to George Street for about $10 million.  The original work was to go from Division Street to Elm Street.

"If that's what we have to do to make sure that we can do this within what we can afford, we're all for it."

She says the work will include water and sewer pipes that were not buried deep enough and would freeze and cause problems on the main street. It also includes burying power cables under the street, reconstructing the road, adding new lights, sidewalks and furniture.  

Jackson adds, "We'll go into phase two either at the end of our council term or perhaps the next council."

Jackson says money will come from a mixture of grants, Connecting Links funding, reserves and Gas Tax funding. She says there's about $11.3 million available for it.

The Town is now working on a tight timeline that aims for work to start at the beginning of June.

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