Lack of weekend work on St. Margarets Bay Road concerns councillor

Halifax Coun. Shawn Cleary says he'll be making inquiries as to why there wasn't much work being done this weekend on the St. Margarets Bay Road construction project, which was supposed to wrap up Oct. 9.

Crews were supposed to work 7 days/week after delay was announced

There wasn't any work being done Saturday on St. Margarets Bay Road, leading up the Armdale roundabout. The section of road has been closed since mid-July. (Emma Smith/CBC)

Halifax Coun. Shawn Cleary says he'll be making inquiries as to why there wasn't much work being done this weekend on the St. Margarets Bay Road construction project, which is now weeks behind its initial deadline.

Residents reported that no one was on the job on Saturday and Sunday, though a city spokesperson said crews were out Saturday to remove temporary infrastructure, complete curb and sidewalk prep, install a catch basin and conduct a layout survey.

"On Sunday, Nov. 5, the contractor made the decision to rest its workers. The contractor is subject to penalties for project delays, so the decision not to work Sunday is ultimately the contractor's choice," Halifax Regional Municipality's Nick Ritcey said in an email.

Crews were supposed to be working seven days a week starting in mid-October, when it was announced that the project won't be completed until the end of November. It was initially scheduled to wrap on Oct. 9.

The construction has shut down a main artery onto the peninsula since mid-July. 

"We are told crews will be on site every day, including weekends, for the remainder of the project," Ritcey said. "The road is still scheduled to reopen by the end of November."

For Nick Giannopoulos, owner of Euro Pizza, who closed his take-out restaurant for two months during the summer, the lack of work is the sign of another broken promise by city officials.

"When I tried to open the ninth of October, these guys are still outside, for another two months," Giannopoulos said. "They should have to answer to somebody."

Nick Giannopoulos closed his take-out restaurant, Euro Pizza, for two months during the summer. He scheduled his reopening for Oct. 9, and shortly after, crews started digging right outside his front door. (CBC)

During the most recent meeting with the city, he said people in the area were told the work would take place "from sunrise to sunset every day" until it was done. That isn't happening, he said, and it's creating "chaos."

"Nobody was paying attention; I don't know who was in charge," Giannopoulos said.

Cumberland Paving and Contracting Ltd., the company leading the project, did not respond to CBC News's request for comment on Sunday.

Cleary, who represents District 9, where the work is taking place, said he's looking into the complaints he's received.

The city said crews would be working on St. Margarets Bay Road 24-7. But residents and business owners say that's not happening. (Emma Smith/CBC)

"I was under the impression that the contractor would be working seven days a week. I am a bit surprised that they are not out there right now. Understandably, people are frustrated," he said Saturday.

"But if they're not out there working on a day like today, I'm not sure what's going on. I'll have to do a little investigation."

The construction contract includes a clause that allows the municipality to penalize the contractor for any delays — up to $5,000 in fines and road-closure fees per day.

"I am still expecting there will be [fines] at the end of this," Cleary said. "We won't know until they actually finish the job what the total fines or charges will be."

With files from Emma Smith