Winnipeg construction crews should work around-the-clock, business owner says

23/11/2018 Posted by admin

WINNIPEG — Rush hour gridlock, construction signs and potholes, it’s been a full season of construction around Winnipeg.

While crews hurry to finish many jobs around the city before the snow stays on the ground, some are left wondering if construction should be around the clock in order to get the job done.

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    “Yes they should have 24/7 construction to finish the job,” said Ravi Singh, owner of Hadeda convenience store on Selkirk Avenue. “It’s a little bit of a headache in the short period, or a bigger headache for a longer period of time.”

    READ MORE: Winnipeg convenience store on verge of closing due to construction

    Sing’s said his business has barely made any sales lately due to the construction happening out front. He also said there are other businesses on the street that have been “devastated” due to the construction out front.

    “We have had several days where we had to stay closed … overall totally inconsiderate of disabled people and mostly inconsiderate of businesses as well.”

    The city said when it comes to the businesses suffering, there isn’t much they can do, but they hope the long-term benefits of new roads help businesses in the future.

    Road construction hours

    “Overall, there are occasions during every construction season that asphalt or concrete paving operations will extend beyond 10 p.m. in order to finish a street,” said Lisa Fraser, communications officer with the city.

    “An example from this year would be a paving operation on Logan Avenue which extended into the night in order to complete it.”

    However, the  city said they rarely tell contractors to work at night or on weekends. The city said, when crews work during daylight hours it improves safety for workers and reduces noise for the public. The city does not recommend overnight road work as it can be dangerous, less productive and noisy.

    Mike Mager, president of CAA Manitoba, agrees that construction crews shouldn’t have to work overnight.

    “It’s very complicated to initiate,” he said. “It’s people’s lives you have to consider, and construction costs would go up.”

    However, Mager did say he thinks the city and contractors should co-ordinate projects for efficiency.

    “How many times do we drive the same road, and crews haven’t worked on it for weeks? Why is this street vacant and still disrupting traffic?”

    Social media response

    Although around-the-clock construction has happened, some are left wondering if it should be done more. We asked the question on Facebook and here are some of the responses:

    Toronto’s 24-hour construction

    Last year, Toronto implemented 24-hour construction for some projects. Since it started, there has been a slight increase in costs (for additional material and overtime for crews). However, construction complaints have decreased, according to Toronto’s director of Engineering and Construction Services, Frank Clarizio.

    “Each project has a unique circumstance. It’s not cookie cutter,” Clarizio said.

    Some projects are extended from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. and others happen overnight in order not to disrupt routes and have the project finished by the morning, he said.

    READ MORE: Construction traffic disruptions on the agenda at public works meeting

    “We wouldn’t implement 24/7 construction in a residential area. We usually do it at a busy intersection where transit service would be disrupted. The goal is to complete the project as soon as possible.”

    Out of the city’s 85 construction projects this summer, more than half were on an extended schedule. Five projects were operating on a 24-hour schedule and construction on eight projects happened overnight, according to Toronto’s mayor, John Tory.

    RELATED: Toronto construction-related traffic delays due to 2015 Pan Am Games

    When it comes to noise, Clarizio said crews will stop jack hammering, and move onto “quieter” construction, such as welding and pouring concrete.

    “But of course the backing of the truck will be loud,” he added.

    However, some major construction projects have prompted noise complaints. For example, there were many noise complaints over the around-the-clock construction for the city’s airport-downtown rail link project (Union-Pearson Express).

    WATCH: Residents frustrated over Union Pearson Express construction noise, damage

    Saskatoon fast-tracks in the fall

    In September, the city of Saskatoon sent out a media release, informing residents that crews would start working around-the-clock in order to complete a number of road construction projects before the snow falls.

    “The city’s top priority is to improve the overall condition of the road network and we continue to look for ways to rehabilitate as many roads as possible, with the least impact to drivers,” said Angela Gardiner, Saskatoon’s director of transportation.

    RELATED: Road work blues: Critics complain Montreal construction schedule is archaic

    “By strategically packaging projects and leveraging on advances in technology, we are getting better pricing, completing more work and achieving more work hours in a season,” she said.

    Construction crews started working between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. in order to complete large projects with “minimal disruption to commuters,” Gardiner said.

    Other Canadian cities

    Edmonton: permitted construction hours are Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., and 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. The city allows 24-hour construction for some projects.Halifax: permitted construction hours are Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturdays, and  8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Sundays. The city allows overnight construction in area that would cause significant traffic holdups.Regina: permitted construction hours are 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. The city allows some exceptions for around-the-clock work.Vancouver: permitted construction hours are Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., and 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. Occasionally the city will complete construction work overnight in order not to disrupt traffic flows.

    Note: For many of the round-the-clock project a noise bylaw waiver is needed.