Residents blame construction for injuries
Mission Avenue rebuild months behind schedule
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 06:00 am
Other Road Projects
Here is a list of the progress of three of the city's main capital projects and their status:
• Ray Gibbon Drive, stage three is behind schedule and might be deferred until next year. Rainfall, combined with the topography of the area, have significantly delayed the project, which will connect Ray Gibbon Drive to Villeneuve Road.
• The rebuild of Delage Crescent is on schedule. The entire road is scheduled to open to traffic next week.
• LeClair Way is on schedule. The project to connect 137 Avenue to LeClair Way should be completed by its November date.
Water main strikes, weather and a host of other problems have set the rebuild of Mission Avenue back months, which is irritating residents in the area.
Furthermore, two individuals have been injured since construction began, one of whom is the 84-year-old son of former St. Albert mayor John E. LeClair.
According to his daughter Melanie Pinco, Lucien LeClair fell on Aug. 31 while returning to his home at Mission Manor after being asked by construction crews to move his car. LeClair, who is still in hospital, broke his hip and elbow, as well as struck his head. She said his hip has been replaced and his elbow repaired, but due to a combination of shock and medication, LeClair is confused and suffers from hallucinations.
Pinco places the blame for her father’s fall squarely on the work taking place on Mission Avenue, which she says has led to unsafe walking paths for the many seniors who live on Mission. Sidewalks are often scattered with hoses or covered with plywood. Her father fell when he tried to walk up a small dirt hill.
“It’s just the fact they’ve had so many problems in doing this work and so many delays that if the work had been done properly to begin with, this would be a done deal and my dad wouldn’t have fallen and broken his hip and his elbow,” Pinco said.
One other Mission Avenue resident, Colleen Senko, who is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, fell in May and broke her ankle in two places. The accident occurred, in her opinion, because she was forced to park on Perron Street and cross the bridge because access to homes on Mission is restricted.
“No it wouldn’t have happened,” Senko said. “I wouldn’t have had to stand on that part of the bridge. I would have my parking spot.”
Sue Howard, capital projects manager for the city who is overseeing the $5-million project, said she empathizes with those who have been injured but can’t fault construction for the accidents.
“It’s unfortunate whenever anyone gets injured,” said Howard, who said the city monitors projects for safety. “As to whether or not it would have happened if construction wasn’t there, I can’t even begin to say.”
But for a project that should be finished, not even half of the work has been completed. The original plan, as presented to residents at an April open house, said the work would be done in two phases — from St. Albert Trail to Perron Street, and then from Perron Street to Mount Royal Drive. Phase one was supposed to be completed by mid-July but according to Howard won’t be done potentially until October.
The contractor has finished paving from St. Albert Trail to Maple Drive, well short of Perron Street. The second phase, depending on weather, will likely have to wait until next year.
“We’ve had some challenges along the way with rain and relocating utilities,” said Howard. “There’s so many different things going on.
The city has counted 28 rain days since construction began in May, which doesn’t include days following a rainfall in which the ground was too wet to work.
There have been two water main strikes, Howard confirmed, which have been reported to Environment Canada. The contractor is now saying phase one will be finished by Oct. 12.
Howard said the city should know within two weeks whether or not phase two will wait until next year.
She added the project will not go over-budget as the contractor agreed on the full price of the rebuild, regardless of how long it takes.
“If it takes them longer, we don’t pay them more to do that.”