SURREY – Commuters may have noticed Surrey’s busiest intersection was a no-go Wednesday (Nov. 12) as road crews essentially shut down half of the 88th Avenue-King George Boulevard crossing during rush hour.
The reason? A behind-schedule roadwork project that could lead to fines for contractor Imperial Paving.
But for the hundreds of motorists stuck in what essentially became a parking lot along both 88th Avenue and King George Boulevard for upwards of two hours, that’s likely to be of little relief.
“We had lots of calls Wednesday and Thursday,” said Scott Neuman, manager of design and construction for the City of Surrey. “This project is probably the biggest we’ve had calls on all year.”
The project in question is the reconstruction of the intersections of 88th and 76th Avenue along
King George Boulevard in order to accommodate bus express lanes, similar to the one found at 96th Avenue and King George. Crews are also repaving parts of 88th Avenue around the intersection, hence the lane closures.
According to Neuman, road crews are typically granted windows between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to close down parts of major intersections but Wednesday proved to be an exception due to the cold weather.
“Instead we granted them to work rush hour times just for that day in order to just to get it done, otherwise it would have dragged out for months,” he said. “If we didn’t do it that day it could have pushed things weeks. So it’s like pulling off a Band-Aid, do you do it slowly, or do you rip it off? Ripping it off was allowing the traffic to be really bad for that day.”
Neuman said the project in question was also behind schedule and they wanted to make sure it was completed before the winter weather really kicked in.
“The contractor started late, it should’ve been July to October and so it’s been slow,” he said. If a contractor does not complete their projects on time, Neuman said there are financial penalties that could imposed by the city.
“You could get a penalty of about $1,500 a day, it ranges on the type of projects,” explained Neuman. “Sometimes it’s $1,000, sometimes it’s $3,000. I have to double-check the exact schedule, but I think this one would qualify for it.”
Neuman said if there are extenuating circumstances for delays such as poor weather, extensions are granted in lieu of penalties, “but if he (the contractor) started a month late, he could see significant penalty.”
As for communication, Neuman said it was up to the contractor to ensure adequate signage was up informing motorists of the delays and what to expect. He’s since requested the Imperial update their signs, which had still read “Roadwork August – October.”