The City of St. John's has a multi-year infrastructure plan valued at more than $270 million. Aging water transmission mains must be addressed to ensure the long-term sustainability of our municipal infrastructure.
Unfortunately, along with these important projects comes disruption and inconvenience for residents and for people who travel around our city.We apologize for this and appreciate your continued patience during the construction season.
Here are some common questions we get on roadwork and construction.
1. Why does it seem that roadwork always begins in September? Why can't we do this in the summer when it would be less disruptive?
Most projects are designed through the winter months and tendered the following spring / summer. Sometimes, work is already happening in an area and additional work would case added disruption to residents. For instance, the next phase of the Portugal Cove Road water transmission main replacement (New Cove Road to First Street) has been designed and is ready for tendering. However due to the fact that the first phase is still ongoing, it was decided to delay tendering the next phase of the project until Spring 2015. Also work on the Bonaventure Ave / Allandale Road water transmission main replacement had to wait until September because we had to wait until the Portugal Cove Road transmission water main replacement was far enough along, otherwise the downtown would have been left with low pressure, some homes with no water, and firefighting problems.
It would be great to have all construction work take place during the summers months, when people are away on vacation and the children are out of school. However, due to the large volume of construction work throughout the City, completing all the major construction work during the two summer months is simply not feasible. Our projects would be competing against each other for contractor bids and driving up costs. In addition given the low unemployment the City currently enjoys, contractors would not be able to live up to time commitments.
2. Why don't we do this work at night?
It is true that in big cities, construction crews will work through the night. However, this is mostly on highways and in non-residential areas. Although it would be better for commuters if construction took place in the nights, imagine the inconvenience if construction were happening in your neighbourhood all night long - with lights blaring, trucks coming and going, and workers calling out commands while you tried to sleep next door? Night construction is only feasible for certain jobs. Another issue with night construction is the availability of crews to work at night, the safety issues and the financial implications that need to be considered. Where possible, we ask our contractors to try to reduce delays, especially during the morning and evening rush.
3. You tore up this road last year; why are you back tearing it up again this year?
Although the City makes every effort to avoid returning to the same street, sometimes this cannot be avoided for a whole host of reasons. Maybe there has been a new problem to surface since the previous years' work, or maybe there was a public safety concern that required immediate attention before more minor issues are addressed. In a ideal world, if limited budgets were not a concern, the City would replace all underground infrastructure on a street at the one time. With limited budgets, this however is not possible and addressing the most critical issues sometimes take priority.
4. Why do you put up detours and there's no work going on?
You look up the road that you aren't allowed to access and you see nothing going on. Why the detour? Well, although it may seem like work is not happening, sometimes roads need to be detoured to be prepped for construction, including moving heavy machinery into place safely or to do exploratory digging. We appreciate how inconvenient a detour can be and we encourage our contractors and staff to only have detours in place for the shortest - and safest - time possible to minimize the bother while maximizing worker and public safety.
5. Why don't you coordinate better so main roads aren't closed at the same time?
Good question! It's hard to always coordinate construction so that projects don't overlap when the construction season in this province is so short. Also, although construction may be happening near the City, it's not always our work that is happening; sometimes the jobs are coordinated by other like the provincial government.
Sometimes, work has to happen at the same time - it's unavoidable.