Challenges due to COVID-19 have put the commencement of Phase Two of the Chemainus Road Corridor Upgrade Project into mid-July and an expected completion by mid- to late-November.
Copcan Civil Ltd. of Nanaimo recently finished Phase 1 of the project, but Telus will require another five or six weeks to complete its work.
“They’ll be finishing just in time when the contractors start up again,” said John Dehoop, manager of Infrastructure for the Municipality of North Cowichan.
Poles on the road have to come down before the new contractor starts and he expects that’ll take place in about five weeks.
Telus could only have one person where there’s normally two working at a time in the two vaults splicing 1000s of fibre optic and copper wires due to COVID that added an extra 3-4 weeks to the time before the old poles in the middle of the new road can come down.
“It’s a ton of work,” said Dehoop of the Telus role in the project.
The remaining Telus work may cause minor traffic delays at times.
The tender for the next phase went out May 25, at least three weeks late due to COVID. The competition closes on June 23.
Once a contract is in place, the successful proponent will get to work on the River Road roundabout; sidewalk; paved bike lanes and newly-paved roadway; landscaping and rain gardens; new signage; and new fencing on the east side of Chemainus Road.
Recent weather would not have made for ideal paving conditions for the second phase. “Maybe it’s a blessing it’s delayed,” said Dehoop.
Chemainus Road is the main entrance into the community so staff has committed to ensuring the road is never fully closed during the project. It will remain open in both directions until mid-July when the second phase of work begins.
Some disruptions will occur at that time, including single-lane traffic and detours.
“This work was identified in the 2011 Chemainus Town Revitalization Plan and will improve the community of Chemainus,” said North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring. “I am happy we were able to safely complete this project despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”