An illustration, posted to the City of White Rock’s website, showing what Johnston Road is anticipated to look like upon completion of the gateway project. The view is described as looking south on Johnston Road from Russell Avenue. (City of White Rock image)

Bid on White Rock gateway project too high: city

$4.09 million budgeted for first phase of uptown plan

The City of White Rock is retendering its Johnston Road Gateway project, after tenders issued in January for the first phase closed with just one bid received, and at a price much higher than anticipated – nearly double the city’s $4.09 million budget.

“We weren’t happy with the pricing we got,” city manager Dan Bottrill told Peace Arch News last week.

Council approved the gateway project last April. Phase one, from North Bluff Road to Thrift Avenue, is scheduled to start this spring; phase two, from Thrift to Roper Avenue, in the fall.

It was brought to the forefront on Feb. 25, when work got underway before 5 a.m. to remove more than two dozen trees along the corridor.

A city report presented to council the week before notes the majority of the trees are in poor health, with many causing “significant soil heaving and infrastructure damage.”

Trees are to be planted as part of the gateway project, the report starts.

Other design elements planned include wide, smooth sidewalk surfaces; rain gardens at the curb edge to manage stormwater; numerous seating pockets and benches; and “a West Coast contemporary character with emphasis on natural materials.”

Ultimately, the road will also be widened by three metres.

Bottrill said the new tenders will be issued “within the next few weeks,” with phasing a consideration “to get better pricing.”

“We want to get this job done,” he said. “It’s a really important project for the City of White Rock.”

The Feb. 19 report points to the high volume of construction projects currently underway in Metro Vancouver as a likely factor in why the city did not receive more bids on the work.

One option moving forward may be to tender the utilities portion as a separate contract, the report states.

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