If you think the construction on Evans has gone on long enough, you’re not alone.
David Blain, director of planning and engineering with the City of Chilliwack, says the City is less than thrilled with the way the work’s been handled, but it’s out of their hands because it’s not their contract.
“It’s a B.C. Hydro project: they’re running power lines down Evans all the way to the Molson site,” Blain explained.
“We have a good relationship with them,” he said about the Crown corporation, “and we have some control over the things they do. But they absolutely have the right to work on our roadways,” he continued.
Nonetheless, Blain says the City is encouraging B.C. Hydro to do better when it comes to projects such as this because of the issues they may cause.
“We’re pushing B.C. Hydro to improve, both in speed and quality. Their traffic control has been poor, so we’ve been responding to that (to the best of our abilities), but have no full control to order B.C. Hydro to do things differently.”
B.C. Hydro says it’s doing the best it can.
“We’ve been working with the City of Chilliwack to address any concerns they’ve received from the public (about) traffic flow,” said Kevin Aquino, a B.C. Hydro spokesperson.
“The safety of the public and our crews is our top priority and traffic is sometimes stalled so we can move equipment and change work zones.”
Blain is urging B.C. Hydro to work quickly. “The asphalt plant shuts down in December, and with the rains in November, there’s very little paving time left, so they’re coming up against the realities of weather (quickly).”
Aquino said delays were partly because of conditions underground. Unfortunately, “we encountered some unforeseen ground water inflows that required us to adopt additional safe measures for our excavations,” he said. “However, we’re on schedule to complete the work by the end of next week.”
Blain acknowledges construction on Evans is not the only project holding up traffic in Chilliwack, and much of it is the City’s responsibility.
“We want to minimize disruption,” said Blain, “so we’ve done some work as night work, but there are major constraints in that: it’s not as safe—even with the big lights—and quite frankly, it’s significantly more expensive.
“So with that, in most areas we do most of the work during the day to save tax dollars because it’s our job to spend tax-payer dollars responsibly.”