Price balloons for City of Barrie watermain project

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A watermain project labeled as “integral infrastructure” in the City of Barrie will cost an additional $1.7 million, due to “unforeseen market conditions.”

That pushes the cost to over $5 million for the installation of a transmission line on Mapleview Drive East from Yonge Street to Royal Jubilee Drive. Council voted, reluctantly, to fund the increase through development charge credits, following a construction agreement between the city and landowner groups.

While the initial staff report projected the total cost of the watermain project at $2.1 million, it jumped in June by $675,000 and then $1.7 million this week.

Bala Araniyasundaran, the city’s engineering director, said there are several reasons for the increase, including the actual design of the watermain which required changes to add “some trenchless sections.”

Additionally, he said the availability of contractors was a factor, prices in the construction market are trending up and estimates prepared by consultants for some of the components were “probably” lower than what they should have been.

In June, the city worked out a development charge credit agreement with the Hewitt’s Creek Landowners Group and the Salem Landowners Group on details of the project. In exchange for building and financing the project, the landowners receive development charge (DC) credits.

The project was originally planned with road improvements starting in 2023, but landowners have indicated they’d like to see the project start as soon as possible.

The first phase includes connecting to an existing stub at Sun King Crescent and Royal Jubilee Drive, extending west along Mapleview Drive and crossing Hewitt’s Creek. The second phase includes a bend westward from Kneeshaw before crossing the Metrolinx rail line, extending west to Yonge Street, north on Yonge Street, and tying into the Mapleview transmission main west of Yonge Street.

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