Fredericton defers, replaces infrastructure projects during pandemic
Fredericton’s city council has chosen to postpone two infrastructure renewal projects that were scheduled for this spring and summer, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The planned projects on Regent Street (between Queen and King Streets) and on Union Street have been deferred. They will be replaced by two other reconstruction projects, at the same combined cost of $1 million, that will have less impact on businesses and residents: one on St. Mary’s Street, from the Northside City Works Depot to Two Nations Crossing, and another on Terrance Street from Brookside Drive to Harley Avenue.
The deferral was based on multiple considerations relating to COVID-19, including alleviating pressure on the business community, the difficulty of contractors being able to complete the work while maintaining physical distancing, the availability of the workforce and the probability of the projects taking longer than scheduled.
“The pandemic has hit Fredericton businesses hard,” says Mike O’Brien, the city’s mayor, “and while infrastructure renewal is vital to the long term when it comes to safe drinking water and a secure sewer system, these projects would have dealt a huge blow to businesses that are already suffering.”
“We’re pleased to be replacing more invasive jobs with equally important but less intrusive projects,” says Greg Ericson, councillor and chair of the city’s finance committee.
After analyzing Fredericton’s 2020 capital construction plan, city staff has identified $4 million worth of additional projects that could be deferred if necessary, to bridge revenue shortfalls and pandemic-related additional costs, as well as $10 million in infrastructure projects that should go ahead this year, to address safety concerns and other urgent issues.