GEORGE NEWS - The minor upgrade initially planned for Wellington Street has developed into a full upgrade due to a number of unforeseen delays, which in turn provided the time to acquire extra funding for more comprehensive work to be done.
"The result will be a public transport-standard road that will benefit road users far beyond the project's initial scope," said Acting Director of Civil Engineering Services Lionel Daniëls.
Completion of the project, which was scheduled for November 2020, is now set for the end of May 2021.
The rebuilding of Wellington Street between Courtenay and Aspeling streets was initially a minor upgrade because of limited funding, said Daniëls.
"The public and municipality had been equally frustrated by the snags that felt relentless during this project, but the delays had worked out for the good and the resulting road and infrastructure will ultimately provide a significant improvement to this transport route."
He said a series of factors outside the municipality's control had delayed the project from the start, including excessive rain during critical stages of the project, poor sub-grade conditions because of subsurface water, and the presence of third-party underground services (such as telephone and optic fibre lines) that had to be removed or relocated before construction could start.
Blessing in disguise
While delays were slowing down construction, additional money became available that could fund the upgrading of sidewalks on both sides of the road to a universal standard, but the construction programme had to be extended to allow for the additional work, said Daniëls.
"As often happens when excavating in older parts of town, the preparation for the sidewalks revealed ageing municipal water and storm water infrastructure and the municipality decided to make the most of the already excavated areas to replace and upgrade the pipes - which would result in further programme delays at the time, but would avoid old infrastructure-related issues later."
Electricity and fibre
The contractors also came upon electricity and fibre lines in the sidewalk zone that had been laid either too shallow or not where indicated on the original plans. This required relocation and caused further delays.
"Because we were working in areas where access to properties were important, the way in which we move services is unfortunately also slower. George Municipality realises the enormous impact that this road work has had on properties and road users in this zone, but we believe the end is finally in sight and that the completed road and sidewalks will ultimately benefit everyone who use them."
Daniëls said to expedite the construction programme, the municipality has asked the contractor to bring in extra construction teams where practicable and the project is expected to be done by the end of May.
"We thank all stakeholders for their ongoing cooperation and patience during this project and ask that they continue to take care during the final phases of this project," he said.
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