Road projects get more expensive with rising cost of asphalt

ELORA – The rising cost of asphalt is impacting Centre Wellington’s road repair budget.

Council heard at its May 15 meeting that a request for tender for 16 road projects drew five bids but all five were over the $1.5 million that was budgeted.

The lowest bidder was E.C. King Contracting whose bid was $2,010,254.

Staff went over the work list and decided to reduce the length of 8th Line West to be paved to reduce the overall cost. As well, a $154,000 top up from the general capital reserve is required.

Councillor Lisa MacDonald wanted to know if this would be a tar and chip type application as she’s heard complaints about its application on a project last year.

“We got dust complaints in Salem last year,” managing director of infrastructure services Colin Baker confirmed. “We’re in the process of correcting this.”

Councillor Bronwynne Wilton wondered if the shoulders of these roads could be a little wider to allow for safer cycling and pedestrian use.

“I’m wondering if we can build in active transportation from the get-go,” she said.

“These are dead end roads,” Baker replied. “At this stage we’re not including walking paths or delineation for pedestrians.”

Most of these roads are currently gravel, “and I think residents are thrilled to have a hard surface road. For someone walking, it will feel comfortable,” he added.

However, on a separate tender – the McNab Street, Elora watermain construction project – there will be better delineation for cyclists and pedestrians when the project is complete.

This project involves replacing the watermain on McNab Street between High Street and Bridge Street. It includes soil excavation, adding a granular base and then hot mix asphalt and a pedestrian walkway.

Staff offered two options to council for the pedestrian walkway:

– option one is to make the pedestrian walkway from asphalt and delineate it from the street with a painted line. Cost for this option is $2,031,000; or 

– option 2 is to make a concrete walkway. This option would cost $2,114,315.

With both options, there would be no curb or grade change between the road or the sidewalk.

Wilton was concerned that cars would park on the walkway if it was the same material as the road, making it more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. 

Mayor Shawn Watters noted that using two different materials would visually separate the two functions. As well, the road would appear narrower, and cars would slow down.

“Aesthetically it would look better too,” Watters said. “We can’t do a full reconstruction, but this will probably be there for 20 years.”

Township treasurer Adam McNabb said the bulk of the cost of the project is in the watermain work itself and not the walkway. 

But option one would be funded entirely through the water general capital reserve. 

With option two, the difference in cost between asphalt and concrete walkway – $84,000 – would be funded through the general capital reserve.

Council unanimously supported option two. Councillor Denis Craddock was absent from the meeting.