The largest construction project for Hamilton, Ont.’s upper east area since the Red Hill Parkway is slated to begin this year.
Earlier this month, Hamilton City Council, in its first virtual meeting since the COVID-19 state of emergency was declared, approved the $28-million project that will widen a four-kilometre portion of Rymal Road.
“It is the only arterial route east-west that connects to the Summit Park neighbourhood that has thousands of homes. As a result, we have a four-lane road connecting to a two-lane road that creates a bottleneck and traffic headaches, which means challenges for the retail and commercial sectors as well as residents,” said Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark, calling the project long overdue and much needed.
The project will expand Rymal Road, from Fletcher Road to Upper Centennial Road from two to five lanes consisting of two eastbound lanes, two westbound lanes and a centre turning lane. Sidewalks, street lighting, signals, traffic safety improvements, sanitary and storm sewers are also included in the build.
“The primary reason for the project was to accommodate development and growth,” said City of Hamilton director of Engineering Services Gord McGuire, who confirmed that Coco Paving was awarded the project over five other companies bidding.
The project was tendered for 11 sections with Coco’s costs breaking down as follows: $22.4 million, with a $2.2 million contingency fund and $3.2 million in HST cost, coming in just under $28 million total.
“The project budget was approved through the 2020 Capital Budget Approval Process. This contract required further council approval to make adjustments to the funding being applied to road and storm works, but the total project was within budget,” said McGuire.
Some preconstruction has already been conducted and the job is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2021, though the recent COVID-19 pandemic may have some impacts.
Currently, the Rymal Road reconstruction is exempt from the province’s pandemic-related regulations, but city officials are realistic that circumstances could change given the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation.
“Delays may be experienced due to COVID-19, but currently there are no anticipated changes to the construction schedule,” said McGuire.
In early April, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that no new residential construction will be permitted except in some circumstances and only those construction services deemed essential can continue.
“Only critical construction projects will continue, including industrial projects such as refineries and petrochemical plants and infrastructure projects such as new hospitals, roads and bridges. New starts in residential projects will stop, while residential construction that is near completion will continue,” stated an April 3 news release from Ford’s office.