October 25, 2013 - 12:56 PM
BUSINESSES SUFFERING THROUGH TRANQUILLE ROAD UPGRADES
KAMLOOPS – North Shore businesses have been told to expect yet another month of construction along Tranquille Road now that the Oct. 16 deadline has come and gone.
Steven Puhallo of the North Shore Business Improvement Association says area business owners realized construction could be painful to their bottom line but also know the process is necessary to upgrade infrastructure in the area.
“We knew it would be painful,” Puhallo says, “but now it's getting really painful.”
According to Puhallo the hard part for many area businesses is this being the second year of a negative impact financially as upgrades continue to take place down the corridor. Some businesses are only pulling in 10 per cent of what they normally would at this time of year because the upgrades, which include lighting, a multi-use path and pedestrian curb extensions, have taken away nearby parking and congested traffic in the area.
Flaggers working the area say lineups of two dozen cars in either direction are common sight where the road is down to a single lane, just before it meets the overpass, but few people show any anger towards the crews.
The project was approved back in February and in July the $3.7 million contract was approved. The work started just shortly after the approval and at the time Public Works Director Tracy Kyle said moderate delays were expected.
Puhallo says the city has done a good job at mitigating the impact, but as crews dug into the ground infrastructure issues were unearthed, which in retrospect is really not much of a surprise.
“It's one of the oldest commercial roads in the city,” he says. “Whenever you renovate an old house you find interesting things. This is much the same.”
North Shore businesses and the association are looking forward to completion of the project, which now is projected to fully reopen to traffic again on Nov. 15. Capital Projects Manager Kristen Meersman says three separate things that have led to delays, mostly revolving around utilities. At first they came across a storm line that wasn't expected and then underground ducting (for utilities like hydro) under the west sidewalk led to delays and then a delay in obtaining the necessary Fortis permit also caused issues.
Meersman says the contractor has been good at working with the city to ensure the time delays haven't resulted in extra financial costs for the city, though the custom work that was needed to accommodate the utility issues did cost a bit more. Those extras have fallen well within the contigency fund so far though and the project is still on budget.
Smaller cosmetic and detail items will still need to be finsihed up after the road reopens to traffic, but Meersman says drivers and local businesses shouldn't notice an impact.
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This story was last updated at 5:10 p.m., Oct. 25, 2013.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013