Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Rising construction costs affecting amount of road work done for city

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The city found an expensive surprise when looking for contractors to do regional and local street repairs this year.

The cost of the work has gone up an average of 7.2 per cent compared to the same work done in 2013.

The cost increases were presented in a verbal report to the civic finance committee.

City council went on a spending spree this year to deal with a billion-dollar infrastructure deficit – boosting its spending on regional and local streets to a combined $84.2 million, a 173 per cent increase from the $30.9 million spent in 2012.

As of the end of March, the city had issued contracts for $30-million worth of road work but staff said that money isn’t going as far as it did the year before.

Officials blamed the increase in construction costs as a result of the extra work being ordered by the city and the provincial government.

Lester Deane, manager of engineering, said the city finds itself competing against itself and the province, which is driving up costs three times the rate inflation.

"We’re competing for (contractors) with the province," and ourselves, Deane said.

Committee members Russ Wyatt and Paula Havixbeck proposed the administration had to find ways to keep costs from escalating unnecessarily, suggesting that officials work with industry to devise multi-year contracts, and work with provincial staff to co-ordinate the timing on bids.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

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