Opposition claims province 'bulldozing through' on Cornwall bypass

Opposition leader Jamie Fox is questioning why the P.E.I. government has already put phase one of the $65 million Cornwall bypass project out to tender, without holding any public meetings or releasing any project details.

PC leader calling for more public consultation, as tender goes out on phase one

This intersection along the North River causeway is one of two being turned into a roundabout. (CBC News)

Opposition leader Jamie Fox is questioning why the PEI government has already put phase one of the $65 million Cornwall bypass project out to tender, without holding any public meetings or releasing any project details.

The transportation department issued the tender on Thursday, looking for a contractor to remove the Maypoint and Poplar Island intersections, and replace them with roundabouts. 

P.E.I. opposition leader Jamie Fox wants more public consultation before the Cornwall bypass project goes ahead. (CBC News )

"In my opinion, we're just bulldozing this through," said Fox. "Take it out of the house, take it out of the budgets, we had an announcement, now we're going to tender five weeks later with no consultation. To me it just looks like the bulldozers actually got their engines running, and they're getting ready to hit the ground running."

'Just the normal process'

But the department's chief engineer, Stephen Yeo, says staff have already met with landowners who'll be affected by the roundabout project. They plan to meet with businesses in the area and hold a public meeting some time in August.

"This is just the normal process," said Yeo. "We have to get the tenders out for a period of 15 working days. And to get the work started in September, that's the procedure we're following."

It's never official until the Minister signs off on the project.- Stephen Yeo, Chief Engineer

Yeo says his department's goal is to have the roundabouts completed and in use later this fall.  That's despite the fact the province is still waiting on word from Ottawa on whether the Federal Government will cover half the cost of the project, through the New Building Canada fund. 

"It's never official until the Minister signs off on the project, and we actually have the contractor there digging," said Yeo. "So there's always changes that can be made. But we want to take it to the public and show them what we're planning to do at this point."

Yeo says phase two of the bypass project — a new six-kilometre route running from the York Point Road to New Haven — likely won't get underway until next July. He says the department will unveil more details on the exact route planned and how businesses and landowners will be affected, "in the next number of weeks."