The Waterdown east-west bypass will stretch from Highway 6 to Dundas Street. Council voted Feb. 13 to sole source the detail design of the section from Centre Road to Avonsyde Boulevard to Dillon Consulting. – Mac Christie/Metroland
The City of Hamilton will skip a competitive bid process in an attempt to speed up the construction of a key section of the Waterdown east-west bypass.
Council passed a motion to sole source the detailed design of the stretch of the bypass from Centre Road to Avonsyde Boulevard to Dillon Consulting in a 13-3 vote Feb. 13, rather than get bids from other companies.
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge, who made the motion to negotiate directly with Dillon, said the decision to go with the consulting firm that has been working on the bypass project for the past decade would speed up construction by four to six months.
“Folks, my community has suffered a great deal,” she said, adding the road has been in the works for 35 years — and is now finally at the top of the priority list for the city. “I’ve spoken to the majority of you around this table, hoping that you will, again vote yes this time when the electronic vote comes up for the benefit of the people of Waterdown and my residents.”
Partridge said the move to hire Dillon and skip the bid process was originally suggested by staff, but the city’s public works committee later made the decision to go through a tender process.
“The original report actually recommended the amendment that I am putting forward,” Partridge said. “I have spoken to staff, they made the recommendation in the report that we go ahead with this.”
Dan McKinnon, the city’s general manager of public works, said the staff’s original decision to go with Dillon was due to the fact it would expedite the process with a firm that was intimately involved with the project for the last decade.
However, Ward 8 Coun. John-Paul Danko, an engineer, said the public works committee recommended a competitive bid because it follows the city’s procurement policy for a project the size of the bypass.
“In my opinion, working in the industry, a sole-source bid will end up costing the taxpayers more because there is no competitive bid process there, there’s no incentive to really cut down on your costing.”
He said while he recognizes there’s an advantage to having a consultant who did the preliminary work involved in the detail design, Danko said realistically Dillon would have a competitive advantage in the bidding process anyway.
“So there’s really no reason not to go to a competitive bid,” he said. “The only advantage is a four- to six-month decrease in the schedule, which shifts the completion date from the spring of 2022 to the fall of 2022.
“So the project would still be completed in the same construction season.”
In response to the delay in the process, Partridge said the province previously said the bypass would be approved by 2008-09.
“Here were are now, almost eight years behind schedule,” she said. “In this particular case there is absolutely no proof it is going to cost us more money.”
She added the motion includes a provision that an agreement with Dillon will only be reached if “an acceptable engineering fee be agreed upon.”
“If an acceptable engineering fee is not agreed upon, then I know that our good staff will follow our appropriate bylaws and do what is right,” she said. “I’m asking for my councillors around the table to please support me in this — it is hugely important to my community.”
In an interview following the meeting, Partridge said she was ecstatic with council’s decision.
“We really want to move the bypass along,” she said. “If we had to do an RFP (request for proposal) and put out a tender for the updated detail design and not use Dillon, that was going to hold us back a few months — potentially up to a year.
“I was delighted when my council colleagues came around and supported that for the Flamborough residents.”
The Waterdown east-west bypass is divided into several sections, including a portion from Highway 6 to Mosaic Drive, a section from Mosaic Drive east to Centre Road, and from Centre Road to Avonsyde Boulevard. The stretch from Highway 6 is tied up in land negotiations and is likely several years away, while the middle portion from Mosaic to Centre Road will be completed by the developers of each of the subdivisions.
Partridge said although there are several developers, they must all use the same contractor to complete the roadway behind the new developments. She said barring any issues, she would like to see the Mosaic Drive to Centre Road section finished by the summer of 2020.
The Centre Road to Avonsyde Drive section, the subject of Partridge’s motion, is scheduled for completion in 2022.