Construction could begin later this year on a project that will see the major reconstruction of the west end of McKeown Avenue between Cartier Street and the roundabout at Gormanville Road.
The next step in the process is complete as North Bay City Council has approved a $477,140 contract to R.V. Anderson Associates Limited for engineering consulting services for the design and environmental assessment amendment related to the reconstruction of McKeown Avenue.
The stretch of McKeown Avenue will be widened to four lanes. The Cartier to Gormanville section will be the final part of McKeown to be brought up to an arterial standard. The associated staff report notes "existing traffic volumes have reached or exceeded the available road capacity, which has accentuated the deteriorated road structure and corridor deficiencies resulting in unsafe travelling conditions."
"I think we're all pleased to see this moving forward," said Coun. Chris Mayne, Chair of Council's Infrastructure and Operations committee during Tuesday's regular meeting. "Construction, hopefully, will start later this year."
Mayne noted the project has been approved for funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP): Rural and Northern Stream. Under this program, 83.33 per cent of eligible costs will be funded by the provincial and federal governments up to a combined maximum contribution of $4.166 million.
The balance of the project will be funded by the City of North Bay. There are lines in the 2022 budget for a forecasted project cost of approximately $6.4 million. This is an estimate that includes design, construction, soft costs and contingencies but final costs will depend on bids once the project is tendered.
Coun. Dave Mendicino called the work "a major upgrade coming this year to McKeown Avenue, which we've seen become a major artery over the last number of years. Widening the lanes from Cartier to Gormanville is certainly going to assist with the traffic jams that we see in this area. Thanks to the feds and the province for being financial partners."
The contract covers design and engineering services for the project that includes the widening of McKeown from Cartier to the Gormanville roundabout approach and transformation to an arterial roadway from the existing two-lane urban roadway. The scope of the project also includes reconstruction of the existing pavement, curbs, boulevards, sanitary sewer, and watermain, as well as the construction of the two new lanes, storm sewers for the additional road width and added active transportation facilities such as multi-use pathways and sidewalks.
Although an initial environmental assessment completed in 1999 called for four lanes plus a centre left-turn lane as required roadway improvements, an updated traffic impact study performed in 2006 omitted the centre turning lane.
An amendment to the Environmental Study Report — covered by this contract — is required to ensure all requirements of the EA process have been satisfied. An update to the 2006 traffic impact study is also required, according to the report, to confirm that the four-laning of McKeown Avenue is still the recommended design approach now that all vacant lands on McKeown Avenue have been developed.
Following a formal bid request, four proposals were evaluated by the City taking experience, qualifications, response to the scope of work, and price into consideration. The bid from R.V. Anderson Associates Limited scored the highest, was considered fair and reasonable, and was deemed to provide the best overall value.