Turning lane for Voght Street delayed

By on August 10, 2017
Construction of a designated right-turn lane at the corner of Nicola Ave. and Voght St. has been put on hold by the City of Merritt for the time being. Michael Potestio/Herald

The City of Merritt won’t be adding a right-turn lane on Voght Street where it intersects with Nicola Avenue in the immediate future.

“We have delayed that project,” said chief administrative officer Shawn Boven. “It did go out to tender but [the bids were] high. [They] came in way more than expected, so we plan to re-tender in the winter or spring when contractors aren’t so busy.”

The turning lane was originally expected to be part of the Nicola Avenue medians project, for which council budgeted nearly $1 million.

That work began last fall when the Ministry of Transportation paved Nicola Avenue through town. The six medians along the road were rebuilt with concrete and two problem waterlines were amalgamated west of Voght Street before the end of 2016.

This spring trees and other shrubbery were added to the medians along with a sprinkler system.

Director of Finance Sheila Thiessen told the Herald the final cost of the median project came in at $558,085 of a budgeted $980,000 and was covered by federal gas tax funds the city receives annually.

Thiessen said because the project was covered by these funds, the city will just leave the dollars left over in the fund for future projects.

Adding the turning lane on Voght Street was supposed to be the next step in the median project, and would have kept the work under budget, but the cost was more than the $112,000 the city budgeted.

Director of engineering and public works Sasha Bird said the general contractor for the median project gave them a price of about $150,000 which was too high, and when the city sought a tender this year the price came in at about $200,000.

“I didn’t think it was feasible at the time. Just didn’t make sense,” said Bird.

Bird said the turning lane could be considered as part of sidewalk, curb and gutter work planned for Voght Street that’s in the works pending a successful grant application the city is waiting on, but she’ll seek direction from council first.

“It’s council’s decision at the end of the day,” she said.

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