SURREY â€” Commuters may have noticed Surreyâ€™s busiest intersections was a no-go Wednesday (Nov. 12) as road crews essentially shut down half of the 88th Avenue â€“ 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, thatâ€™s likely to be of little relief.
â€œWe had lots of calls Wednesday and Thursday,â€ said Scott Neuman, manager of design and construction for the City of Surrey. â€œThis project is probably the biggest weâ€™ve had calls on all year.â€
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.
â€œInstead 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,â€ he said. â€œIf we didnâ€™t do it that day it could have pushed things weeks. So itâ€™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.â€
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.
â€œThe contractor started late, it shouldâ€™ve been July to October and so itâ€™s been slow,â€ he said.â€¨â€¨If a contractor does not complete their projects on time, Neuman said there are financial penalties that could imposed by the city.
â€œYou could get a penalty of about $1,500 a day, it ranges on the type of projects,â€ explained Neuman. â€œSometimes itâ€™s $1,000 sometimes itâ€™s $3,000. I have to double check the exact schedule, but I think this one would qualify for it.â€
Neuman said if there are extenuating circumstances for delays such as poor weather, extensions are granted in lieu of penalties, â€œbut if he (the contractor) started a month late he could be a see significant penalty.â€
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. Heâ€™s since requested the Imperial update their signs, which had still read â€œRoadwork August â€“ October.â€
Finally, asked about the completion time for the long-standing project, Neuman said heâ€™s been told both 76th and 88th intersections should be completed within the next two weeks.
â€œOptimistically itâ€™ll be done in two weeks but my gut feeling is that itâ€™ll done mid-December,â€ he said.