By Cole Parkinson
Work at the Highway 36 Rest Area is continuing at the Municipal District of Taber but a cost increase for the project is incoming.
At the M.D.’s regular meeting on April 28, council was apprised of the increased costs for the project.
“As the engineering team continued to refine the design and design requirements of the project, the construction cost estimate also increased. The majority of the increase in cost is associated with the development of the 2 Highway Commercial lots currently owned by the M.D. of Taber. The cost to develop and service these lots may be recouped through future lot sales. The lots are to be serviced with potable water, electricity, and gas. The costs associated with lot development are estimated at $199,139.70. The M.D. of Taber is likely to see more competitive pricing to develop these lots by including this in the same tender as the rest area as compared to an individual project. The total estimated project cost including a 10 per cent contingency is $2,284,448.29,” reads administration’s report.
The proposed development will include approximately 6.96 acres of paved parking lot on M.D. owned land adjacent to the town of Vauxhall with washroom facilities and an area for heavy trucks to pull off the highway for a rest period improving the safety for the travelling public.
The parking lot is also to be designed to handle the largest truck and trailer configuration that Alberta Transportation allows on their highways.
“We worked through the cost estimate detail design with our engineering consultant and we ended up considerably higher than what the initial estimate was, which was set at roughly $2 million. I asked them to dial it back and take some of the lipstick off to ensure this project was within the budget or as close as possible. Where we landed was about $2.28 million in total,” explained Craig Pittman, director of infrastructure.
Preliminary cost estimates provided by the engineering consultant were set at $1.9 million, including a contingency cost of $171,000, as well as an estimated $95,000 for engineer fees for a total estimated cost of $2 million for the entire project.
Alberta Transportation had also indicated to the M.D. that they would put the first $1.5 million into the project.
“Now where those additional costs are coming from, roughly $200,000, are for some of the plot developments and servicing costs for the two highway commercial lots that are associated to this rest area. Alberta Transportation has made it very clear right from the beginning that they are only paying for the rest area costs and those costs are acceptable to them that provide access or are part of the rest area itself. In the cost estimate you see, we have separated them out, so we require a little bit more money so these lots are serviced,” continued Pittman.
A motion to put the project out to tender was carried unanimously.