The price tag for a major intersection realignment in Nanaimo could rise by half a million dollars. NEWS BULLETIN file

Costs could rise at Northfield intersection

City report shows another $525,000 required for intersection upgrades

The price tag for a major intersection realignment in Nanaimo could rise by half a million dollars.

A City of Nanaimo staff report slated to be presented at the committee level next week shows another $525,000 will be needed for intersection upgrades at Northfield Road, Boundary Avenue and the old Island Highway. Including money already spent on the project, the total cost is now estimated at $4.18 million, according to a report authored by Phil Stewart, city manager of engineering projects.

The project costs were revised after a construction tender closed Dec. 12 and the lowest bid came in at $2.32 million. Upgrades to rail components are expected to cost the city $636,000 and the city is also factoring in $450,000 for contingencies.

The staff report notes that several factors contributed to projected costs increasing.

“The budgets were prepared in 2015 under different construction market conditions and the tender results were higher than anticipated,” the report notes.

The report suggests $462,000 could be allocated from road reserves and some of the remainding funding could come by delaying a Rosstown Road sidewalk and storm sewer project until 2019.

The Northfield intersection project is a partnership with the B.C. ministry of transportation and infrastructure; the city hopes the province can provide $1.85 million.

“The $1,850,000 includes half of the anticipated budget increase; however, [the ministry] has not confirmed that they have additional funding available for the project,” notes the city report.

According to the report, staff recommends that the city allot the additional $525,000 to move ahead with the project.

“Given that the intersection is one of the higher crash locations, cancelling the project will likely result in a continuation of the substantial accident rate,” the report notes.

The project has been planned for years. Work was originally slated to start in 2014, but was halted that year when costs rose $800,000 higher than expected, to $2.9 million. In 2015, then-transportation minister Todd Stone was at the location to announce an increased provincial funding commitment. In 2016, city council paused the project again to see what might happen with passenger rail service, then, in 2017, council re-committed to moving ahead with the intersection fix.

The Northfield intersection report is on the agenda for a city finance and audit committee meeting Jan. 10 at the City of Nanaimo’s service and resource centre.

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