By Francis Baker
News Express Staff
Wellington County Council officially awarded the tender for construction of the Tower Street bridge in Fergus at its Oct. 25 meeting.
McLean Taylor Construction Ltd. of St. Mary's was the lowest of six bids received from prequalified contractors, at almost $2.7 million plus HST.
Work started on the bridge on Monday morning, Oct. 29, and it's expected to be closed weekdays until the beginning of December for this preliminary work. During the first few days, the bridge was re-opened by 5 p.m.
The bridge replacement is scheduled for next year, and could take most of the construction season to complete, although how long the bridge will be closed to traffic hasn't been said.
In Fergus, traffic is being detoured across the two other bridges, on St. David Street and Scotland Street, depending on its destination.
As stated on the tender, the work includes completely removing the existing bridge, and building a new structure and its supports, new retaining walls, relocating utilities, and rebuilding the roadway.
It also includes replacing sewer, hydro and gas lines from St. Andrew Street south to Queen Street. Centre Wellington is going to pay the county $432,000 for that work.
Engineering studies earlier this year found "larger cracks in some of the road," treasurer Ken DeHart told county councillors last week.
That's one reason the bridge work didn't go ahead earlier this year, he said. "The scope of the work has expanded."
Because of those additional engineering costs, the county is adding $600,000 to the 2013 capital budget to finance the project - $2.3 million has already been set aside in capital budgets from 2008 to 2012.
Erin Mayor Lou Maieron wanted to know where that extra $600,000 was coming from and if it would impact county tax bills.
"We're trying to keep the levy at a balanced level," DeHart said. "It's out intent not to increase the levy based on this project."
The total project cost for the bridge is expected to be $3.365 million, which includes the $2.7 construction cost, professional fees, county labour and material costs, and a contingency fund.