In a motion presented by Deputy Mayor Bill Griffin at Monday night’s city council meeting, it was recommended the city pay Harbourside Transportation Consultants $5,606.25 to perform engineering work associated with assessing the proposed city detour plans for the anticipated 2018 construction of the Main Street Bridge and the combined sewer separation project.
Coun. Josh Carey said he was having some challenges with paying that amount for what he said would basically be signage.
“There’s only two ways to go,” he said. “You’ve either got to go Bowater Park or you’ve got to go the Mill bridge.”
He said he wasn’t being petty over the money, but questioned if it was necessary to pay an outside engineering company when city staff could just do it themselves.
He pointed to the work in the Park Street area last year when West Street was closed on the lower end and traffic was flowing both ways on the upper end.
“Our staff very competently put that in place, executed it and we had no problems,” he said.
Darren Charters, director of community, engineering, development and planning, said this project is much larger than just the Main Street Bridge. It’s taking all the city’s projects and combining them into one.
He said they’re asking the consultant to not only look at the impact of that, but also any signal timing changes that may be required, and any mitigation strategies they might put in place to help people get around the city.
“It’s going to be a busy, busy summer and we want to understand not only the impact, but what we can do to mitigate the impact,” he said.
City manager Melissa Wiklund said the big concern is having to major projects occurring downtown simultaneously and how it would affect the overall traffic flow.
“I expect it will be an initiative that will use the contractor, as well as our in-house expertise,” she said.
Mayor Jim Parsons agreed it would be a busy summer and said everyone knows how congested traffic can become in the city when there are issues on Main Street and O’Connell Drive at the same time.
“It becomes almost inaccessible,” he said.
When council voted on the motion, all were in favour except Carey.