Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit September 14, 2017 - 11:30 am

Iqaluit councillors approve scaled-back fix for Federal Road

“The principal cost was in paving so we tried to target what we could get away with not paving”

BETH BROWN
Iqaluit’s dilapidated Federal Rd. is set to get a facelift, thanks to a change in regulations on how the federal Gas Tax Fund can be used by municipalities. (FILE PHOTO)
Iqaluit’s dilapidated Federal Rd. is set to get a facelift, thanks to a change in regulations on how the federal Gas Tax Fund can be used by municipalities. (FILE PHOTO)
Matthew Hamp, Iqaluit’s director of engineering and public works, says the city has scaled back plans to pave Federal Rd. for financial reasons.   
(PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Matthew Hamp, Iqaluit’s director of engineering and public works, says the city has scaled back plans to pave Federal Rd. for financial reasons. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Long awaited upgrades to Iqaluit’s potholed and dust-ridden Federal Road are on the horizon, now that the city has awarded a $2.5-million construction contract to Kudlik Construction Ltd.

The Government of Nunavut’s Department of Community and Government Services presented the city with a project plan for fixing the road last fall, saying they would complete a design and pay all engineering expenses.

After receiving all design and tender documents in July 2017, the city then issued a request for proposals, with a closing date of Aug. 10.

When the original winning bid came in at close to $3.8 million, the city negotiated a reduction in the scope of work to bring the project cost down. Kudlik’s final bid came in at $2.54 million.

Councillors voted to accept the revised bid during their Sept. 12 council meeting, but despite the reduction in scope, city officials still expect to see improvements to the quality of the road.

“The road will be raised up quite significantly,” said Matthew Hamp, Iqaluit’s director of engineering and public works.

The project will include the removal of old chip seal to add more road base and several culverts to improve drainage, he said.

It won’t include paving at the Four Corners or at the other end of Federal Road, past the turn to the new airport terminal. 

“The principal cost was in paving, so we tried to target what we could get away with not paving,” Hamp said. 

The $2.5-million project is being funded through the city’s share of the federal Gas Tax Fund, which has only recently been made available for use on road projects, as well as water and waste management facilities.

The Gas Tax Fund will bring the city about $2.36 million this year, the federal government announced earlier this summer.

The upgrade will save the city in maintenance costs, which currently amount to between $200 and $400 per hour for road-grading, done all summer long, Hamp said.

Besides the paving of one of its primary arteries, councillors also discussed the general state of Iqaluit roads at the Sept. 12 meeting.

That’s because Hassan asked councillors to approve a list of priority items for the city to bring to the territorial and federal governments in order to get more money.

“Everything is needed,” said Coun. Kyle Sheppard, which makes it hard to choose a list of priority projects.

But, he added, “if we are sending a wish-list in to the government… we need to add some roads in there. It’s what we hear about more than anything in this community.”

Coun. Terry Dobbin made a motion to have a high-level feasibility study done to see what it would cost to do a complete overhaul of Iqaluit’s road networks.

He said that too often, the city waits for federal and territorial funding to do its projects.

Having seen success at the aquatic centre, when the city started that project by borrowing money on its own, Dobbin said he thinks roads should be made a priority, whether help is available or not. 

“Let’s do it on our own and hopefully the money will come in the back end,” he said.

“The city’s strategic plan calls for a June 2017 timeline to ‘identify, maintain and repair priority roads,’” Dobbin said, quoting the strategy.

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