Skip to content

Costs increase for bike lane and utility project on Albert Street, but grant money helps

Cost of project now approaching $4.4 million
Inflation has prompted city staff to ask for a $600,000 budget increase for road improvements and utility upgrades along Albert and Pine streets. (City of Nanaimo image)

Inflation has impacted costs of infrastructure upgrade projects in the City of Nanaimo.

At a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, March 15, the committee was presented with an updated cost for the road reconstruction and utility upgrades along Albert and Pine streets. Bill Sims, general manager of engineering and public works, presented a report requesting $600,000 be added for the project, increasing the total project budget total to $4.37 million from $3.76 million.

But installing cycling lanes on Albert Street has actually helped offset increased project costs, thanks to an active transportation grant of $500,000.

“The [Union of B.C. Municipalities] and the province have awarded the city the maximum active transportation grant for this particular project, which helps allow for connectivity improvements for this stretch of Albert Street,” Sims said.

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong asked about previous budget increases for the project, and Phil Stewart, manager of engineering projects, said the budget increased by about $800,000 last year before it was tendered.

“This is the first market pricing we have on this project,” he said.

Sims said the “essentials of the project” are replacing a water main along Albert Street and increasing a loop of water main servicing around Pine Street.

“The existing Cat Stream culvert, where Albert crosses, is beyond its capacity, especially considering climate change, and so the project is to replace it with a fish-friendly culvert,” he said. “This also allows the opportunity, with the active transportation funding, to improve the pedestrian and cycling access along this stretch of Albert Street.”

Sims said $2.2 million of the $4.4 million budget will go to replacing underground utilities, $1.3 million toward road works including retaining walls and street lighting, and $900,000 for sidewalks and separated cycling lanes.

The project’s increased costs will be paid for with $298,000 from the water asset management reserve fund and $290,000 from the active transportation grant. The $210,000 balance of the grant will offset city spending on other components of the project.

READ ALSO: City of Nanaimo shortens planned Albert Street bike lanes as costs rise

“I never thought I’d be saying this, but given the dramatic increases in the costs of construction, I’m almost pleased that the amount being asked for isn’t as substantial as it might be for other projects,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.

The committee unanimously recommended the project budget increase.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo applies for $1 million in active transportation grants from the province

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
Read more