Nova Scotia

Hollis Street bike lanes in Halifax delayed by over-bidding

The long-promised Hollis Street bike lane has hit a snag, after every company interested in building the lane bid more than the city's budget.
A cyclist stops in the midst of traffic and construction on Hollis Street. The long-promised bike lanes have been delayed after construction companies bid more than what the city had budgeted. (CBC)

The long-promised Hollis Street bike lane has hit a snag after every company interested in building the lane bid more than the city's budget.

After a lengthy public consultation process, a tender was issued earlier this month for the eight-block bike lane, stretching from the Cogswell Interchange to Terminal Road.

The budget for this work was $175,000.

The city received two bids from companies interested in completing the work: Dexter Construction bid $230,900 while Basin Contracting Limited bid $242,100.

"We've received quotes that were higher than our anticipated budget," said city spokesperson Tiffany Chase.

"We'll need to go back and look at the project's scope."

She says staff will now review the description of the project, which includes asphalt resurfacing, curb improvements, lane painting and a new stop sign at the corner of Hollis Street and Terminal Road.

Project already scaled down

During the consultation process, some cyclists raised concerns about the bike lane's connectivity to existing infrastructure.

A popular multi-use pathway currently stretches from the Macdonald Bridge, along Barrington Street, around the Casino Nova Scotia and flows onto the Halifax Waterfront boardwalk. Cyclists have asked staff to consider building a safe route to get from this path, across busy Upper Water Street and onto the planned Hollis Street lane.

The work proposed in the current tender does not include that connection.

A cyclist navigates Hollis Street near beginning of the proposed bike lane. (CBC)

City staff explained that the project — first proposed in 2010 — is one of the most ambitious bike lane installations in the city.

"It's a fairly significant project as far as bike lanes go," said Chase.

"There are many intersections along the way and that's where we get into a little bit more of the work that's required where we have infrastructure improvements and upgrades."

Two other bike lanes have much lower price tags than the Hollis Street installation. The proposed lane on University Avenue is expected to cost $50,000 to construct. The one on Windsor Street cost $20,000 in 2013.

City staff will now review the project to see if the scope should be adjusted, the budget, or both. Any changes would likely return to regional council for budgetary approval.

About the Author

Brett Ruskin

Reporter/Videojournalist

Brett Ruskin is a reporter and videojournalist covering everything from local breaking news to national issues. He's based in Halifax.

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