Tender accepted for Hillsburgh dam/bridge

HILLSBURGH – Erin town council has accepted a bid of $2.53 million for the reconstruction of the Station Street dam and bridge in Hillsburgh.

This marks the final phase of a process that started in 2011 with the failure of a dam outlet pipe and weakness in the roadway that required temporary closure for repairs and reinforcement.

The province has insisted the dam be brought up to modern standards.

Bronte Construction submitted the lowest of eight bids for the project and was awarded the contract at the Dec. 3 council meeting. The bid is very close to the budgeted cost.

The project was originally tendered last year, but the bids were too high and none were accepted.

A new tender was issued with a new design for the dam, and the successful bid is now $800,000 lower than the lowest bid in the previous tender, according to infrastructure director Nick Colucci.

He identified other costs in addition to the main tender, with engineering approvals, including a dam safety review, at $300,000, a previously ordered pre-fab bridge structure at $300,000, environmental monitoring at $150,000, and site review, contract administration and geotechnical testing at $190,000.

These unbudgeted costs bring the total cost to $3.43 million. The town has a grant of about $1.6 million to cover part of the project, but the town share remains at $1.85 million.

The town is in negotiations with Wellington County, which owns the pond, for a share of the costs estimated at $660,000.

“There is also the possibility that a development that is occurring to the west of this structure may contribute a portion toward the road, bridge and watermain construction,” said Colucci.

“This amount is not confirmed and will be negotiated as part of the development application.”

He also said the town can recover some costs through development charges.

“We are increasing the size of the structure and adding watermains to accommodate future increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic that will be caused by development. The increase in size for the structure is 67% of the overall cost.”

After accounting for other revenue, the town will borrow the balance and make payments on the debt from the development charge reserve.

Mayor Allan Alls quipped, “For whatever is left over, we’ll have to beg, borrow or steal. Maybe we could set up a toll bridge – I never thought of that. Let’s get the bridge built.”

The project was the subject of an environmental assessment that recommended preserving the millpond.

Town council and Wellington County backed the EA result, but it was challenged by Credit Valley Conservation  and others who preferred either decommissioning the pond or creating a smaller, off-line pond.

The project was on hold for more than a year as the Ministry of the Environment considered the appeals. In February 2018 the ministry rejected the appeals and gave approval to proceed.

The town had arranged $2.5 million in debt financing, but in March 2018, the town received a $1.6 million provincial grant to cover more than half the primary cost. The grant remains available.

The bridge was built in 1917 and was first identified in 1971 as being in need of replacement.