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Monday, July 6, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Relocated bird nest adds to cost overages on road project

Relocating a family home contributed to the cost overruns of rehabilitating a small span on Middlebrook Road, north of  West Montrose.

In inspecting the bridge-like structure ahead of this summer’s repairs, crews discovered a barn swallow nest. Given that the barn swallow is a threatened species of bird, the township had to find a new habitat, move the nest and arrange for monitoring over the next three years. The total cost, including bird netting around the structure to prevent birds from returning, will run about $6,600.

That amounts to more than 10 per cent of the deficit expected on the project, which clocked in at almost $190,000, well above the budgeted amount of $128,000.

Woolwich councillors nonetheless gave the go-ahead to the work last week, making the decision formal at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Known as structure 161262, the span is in poor condition, requiring extensive repairs, said Jared Puppe, Woolwich’s director of infrastructure services.

Work is expected to get under way as soon as July 2, the township having awarded the contract to Jarlian Construction Inc. The Burlington-based company submitted the lowest of four bids at $158,000. An additional $20,000 was awarded to GM BluePlan Engineering to administer the contract and oversee the work.

The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of July if it gets underway as scheduled, depending on weather, among other factors.

Located on Middlebrook Road, about 1.5 kilometres north of Balsam Grove Road, the stream-crossing spans 2.4 metres and is 15.9 metres, made in four segments, largely of concrete. The higher-than-budgeted costs arose when detailed design plans were finalized, a process that came after the 2020 budget was approved, noted a report presented by Puppe.

The issue with the barn swallow nest added  to the overage.

Relocating the nest and installing netting rang in at $2,825. A suitable new location had to be found within one kilometre of the current site, Puppe noted. Monitoring services for the next three years will cost another $3,825. The measures are required under provincial legislation, leaving the township with no wiggle room, he added.

“It is the cost of doing business.

“We have relocated the nest to within a kilometre of this existing structure – that has worked out well for us,” he said in response to a question from Coun. Patrick Merlihan, noting other municipalities have had to build new nesting structures at costs of up to $20,000 when a suitable site could not be found within the legislated one-kilometre range.

In other road-related matters, councillors this week awarded a $107,000 contract to Cambridge

Landscaping & Construction Ltd. to carry out culvert repairs and ditching services in the south end of the township. The work, to begin June 8 and be completed over a two-week period, is preliminary to township plans to convert three stretches of gravel roadways – Woolwich-Guelph Townline, Lerch Road and Fife Road – to surface-treated standards (tar-and-chip).

The work is part of the township’s focus on converting gravel roads south of Highway 7 in order to reduce maintenance costs on routes farthest from township equipment depots.

“The main reasons for this is due to the increased traffic volume occurring in the area low volume of horse-and-buggy traffic and the long distance that township graders are required to travel to perform maintenance on gravel roadways,” reads a report presented by Puppe.

With the ditching and culvert work done this year, the surface treatment would be carried out in 2021, he added.

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