A Winnipeg councillor is fighting to get construction crews to work longer hours at night and on weekends using incentives and penalty-based contracts.

Scott Fielding has been fighting for stiffer schedules since his 2006 election campaign. He said the city has begun offering construction contracts that offer bonuses for the early completion of jobs, and penalties if companies go past deadline.

"They [city officials] are going the right direction with it," he said. "There are four projects they are working on right now."

But Fielding said it's still not enough. He believes the crews need to be working more during late-night hours and weekends.

"If you look at most jurisdictions in Canada, throughout the United States and really, in the world, you are seeing a lot of work that's done on evenings and weekends, and even penalties and incentives to get contractors. Instead of getting a project done in 30 days, you can do it in 21 days," he said.

Traffic, businesses affected by work

With summer street construction in full swing in Winnipeg, traffic has been affected in many areas and some business owners are also reporting a loss in sales.

Greg Ash, owner of Yellow Dog Tavern, has lost 15 parking spots as a result of prolonged road work in front of his downtown business. Ash can't understand why the street crews that have been in front of the pub for two weeks can't work longer hours to get the job done faster.

"They do it in other major cities, from what I've seen. [In] Toronto, for example, they'll do a night shift," he said. "[In Winnipeg] they're just good at shutting down roadways."

According to the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, most Canadian cities simply don't have the infrastructure, inspectors, equipment and human resources to work second and third shifts into the night.

And from the construction worker's perspective, safety is an issue, said Chris Lorenc of the association.