Halifax Water on tight timeline for downtown sewer project that's doubled in price

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The section of Spring Garden Road between Queen and South Park streets was under construction for months last year.  (David Laughlin/CBC - image credit)
The section of Spring Garden Road between Queen and South Park streets was under construction for months last year. (David Laughlin/CBC - image credit)

Halifax Water hopes at least part of a sewer project can be completed within the next six weeks — even though the timeline is partly why the cost has more than doubled.

New pipes are needed along sections of South Park Street and University Avenue to the end of Cathedral Lane.

The work was originally supposed to be done in 2020. The wait for funding approval delayed construction until 2021.

But HRM's streetscaping project on Spring Garden Road diverted traffic onto South Park Street and meant the tender had to be cancelled.

A new tender was issued in February. Dexter Construction's $4.5-million tender offer was the lone submission.

Water officials had estimated costs at $2.1 million.

Cathie O'Toole, general manager of Halifax Water, listed the reasons for the higher costs in a letter to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board on March 31,

They include a decision by HRM to conduct a pilot project to make Spring Garden Road a bus-only street. Traffic will be diverted to Morris and South Park streets. Sewer work in that area must be done by June 1.

Request to overspend approved

The utility's request to overspend on the project was approved by the UARB on April 1.

HRM's share of the work is $1.3 million.

According to a staff report to the municipality's audit and finance committee in 2021, the municipality will recover its costs from developers with projects on the Carleton, College, Spring Garden and Robie block.

Hundreds of new residential units are expected to be constructed that area within the next four years.

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