George Street reconstruction in Smiths Falls to start May 20

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George Street in Smiths Falls will soon be under construction.

Phase 1 of the project will see Campbell’s Trucking Ltd. get to work on the nearly $2 million project. That includes the replacement of existing underground infrastructure – water main, storm sewers and municipal services, as well as the installation of new concrete curbing, sidewalks and accessibility features, and landscaping.

The bid came in at about $500,000 lower than budgeted, with this funding going into a contingency plan or materials testing, if needed.

The work will begin about May 20 and is expected to be completed on or before Nov. 22, 2024.
There were four bids for the project. The other three were: Core Civil Construction Inc. at $1.941 million; KCE Construction Ltd. at $2.325 million and TJL Construction Ltd at $2.044 million.

Paul McMunn, director of public works and utilities, recommended they go with Campbell’s Trucking Ltd. to which council agreed.

“The work is a reconstruction of the road,” McMunn said during the Smiths Falls committee of the whole meeting on April 22.

Coun. Jennifer Miller asked why George Street was chosen as next in line for reconstruction, “for those watching.”

McMunn said the street has a combined sewer “so we do have a combined sewer overflow unit at the bottom of Mill Street that outlets during heavy rain events. So anytime we get those significant rain events or heavy melts in the spring, the system gets taxed.”

McMunn said as a single pipe system, it does convey sanitary septage from homes through that same pipe. It also collects all the stormwater that runs and collects on the streets, and into the catch basins, “which would normally be tied to the storm sewer but in this case, they’re tied to one pipe.”

McMunn said they have the combined sewer overflow events “from that structure down on Mill Street that does discharge into the Rideau River, and that’s reportable through the Spills Action Centre through the ministry.”

There is some pressure from the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry “that we deal with these types of things,” McMunn said. “Any project that we’re looking at reconstruction primarily north of the Rideau, it does put us in a good position because we have so much combined sewer network throughout town, particularly in the north side of the Rideau that pairs up with a lot of the grants that the ministries are coming out with.”

McMunn said that’s why they’ve chosen George Street: “to gain some capacity back in our water plant, but also the nature of those outlets.”

Mayor Shawn Pankow asked if affected residents have been notified, and understand that if they choose to upgrade their own services lines, they can be done at the same time.

McMunn said residents were sent letters informing them of the work, and encouraging those who want to change from oil to gas that now would be a good time to do it so they don’t have to cut up the road after the fact.

“If they are planning an upgrade to their service, now would be a good time during construction,” McMunn said. That would be contingent upon if the general contractor wanted to do that work at the time. The property owner would also have the opportunity to bring in their own contractor.

Coun. Dawn Quinn asked if residents could be informed of the cost to upgrade their own services if they choose to go that route, and if there was any type of subsidy to offset the cost.
McMunn said they could reach out to the town with questions, but there were no incentives to residents or subsidies to homeowners.

This section of the George Street reconstruction project will start at Strathcona and finish at Gladstone, McMunn said, with Phase 2 (the remainder of the street) subject to 20215 budget deliberations.

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