September 28, 2023

Chesswood Site Check (+ More Sanscon News)

Since the initial post on contractor accountability was put up, some more developments from Sanscon have come up which warrant a follow up. Another cycling related project they were awarded a contract for was on Chesswood Drive, while updates were issued for the College Street Upgrades and KQQR intersection. I did a site check on Chesswood on Tuesday and will discuss those findings.

Chesswood Drive

The Chesswood contract was approved on September 14, 2022 which saw four contractors submit bids with Sanscon’s being for $9.3 million. The contract called for completion by October 15, 2023 while the latest construction notice stated November 2023.

The road is currently restricted to one way southbound for motorists, while you can make out the southbound cycle track form along the entire project from Sheppard Avenue to Champagne Drive. Just need to fill it in and put on some asphalt.

Unfortunately, the northbound cycle track is only built from Sheppard to Steeprock Drive. The intersection at Steeprock also needs work.

Some construction workers at work on the east side of Chesswood.

The bus stops on the west side are clearly visible thanks to the yellow tactile markers.

Here is a picture of where the project ends at Champagne Drive.

Based on these observations, I have serious doubts this project will be completed in 2023.

From Champagne Drive, Toronto’s 2022-24 bike plan calls for a bikeway on Champagne Drive and Alness Street to connect with the Finch Hydro Corridor. Some have suggested extending the Finch West LRT bike lanes east to act as a connection.

By Sheppard, there is a multi-use path that goes from Downsview Park station to just short of the Sheppard-Chesswood intersection. This path needs to be extended to make the Chesswood bikeway even more useful.

College Street Upgrades

A construction update was sent by email on Monday, but was not put up on the project website. In addition to utility conflicts mentioned previously, adverse weather conditions and labour shortages were also blamed for the latest delays.

The project has now been delayed to early November 2023 with sidewalk removal at the northwest corner of College and Spadina expected to happen next week along with the completion of the formwork installation for bike lanes from Brunswick to Spadina. New asphalt will also be laid from Manning to Spadina sometime in October. This would have meant a delay of almost a year from the original December 2022 timeline.

KQQR Intersection

Originally, I was under the impression that the KQQR intersection had been completed, but was mistaken. Ben Singer tweeted on September 22 that the Beaty Boulevard Parkette was still under construction.

When I asked the City for an update on this project, they mentioned the project should be completed later this fall; a year behind schedule. In addition to completing the parkette, remaining works included tree and shrub planting and traffic signal adjustments at three intersections.

A Family Affair

When I shared my initial post with Matt Elliott, he informed me that Carlo Sansalone runs Sanscon Construction and that another Sansalone – Giancarlo – ran Domti Engineering and Construction which was banned for one year effective May 2015. (Possibly Carlo’s father?) The decision was based on poor performance over two contracts, which confirms there can be grounds for suspending companies from City bids. The projects were located at the Fairford-Coxwell intersection and a stretch of Bloor from Dufferin to Christie by the Bickford Centre. Some of the issues found with those two contracts include Occupational Health and Safety Act violations, non-responsiveness to information requests, insufficient labour on site, and failure to correct defaults with one of the contracts. In response, Giancarlo Sansalone claimed the City did not provide sufficient notice explaining why they were considering suspending Domti per the submissions provided to the then Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

Back to the Crosstown

Yesterday, Metrolinx held a press conference stating they still cannot provide a reliable timeframe for the opening of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT which has prompted some Ontario NDP MPP’s to call on the Ford government to fire Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster. In addition, I feel the members of the Crosslinx consortium need to be sued for poor performance, while the overall public-private partnership model may need to be revisited.

It goes to show regardless of the level of government, contractors need to be held accountable to ensure projects get completed on time and on budget. There will always be some reasonable delays, but a line needs to be drawn somewhere. Especially when certain companies consistently deliver behind schedule.

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