Update on tendering and construction
Kelly’s Brook trail was identified as the top priority project emerging from the 2019 Bike St. John’s Master Plan.
Although the City had hoped to be tendering Phase 1 of construction this spring, realignments and modifications to the project (resulting from the extensive public engagement process) as well as increased market costs for construction have changed the scope and value of this project. Due to the increase in the estimated costs for Kelly’s Brook Share-Use Path, the City is meeting with federal and provincial partners to determine the best program to fund this work, which means that tendering and construction of the Kelly’s Brook trail may be delayed until 2023.
Intended to be a shared-use pathway, the project consists of upgrading the existing walking trail from Kings Bridge Road to Columbus Drive to a continuous 4.8 km path, linking several neighbourhoods through an important east-west greenway that largely parallels Empire Avenue. It will support active transportation and encourage people of all ages and abilities to walk, stroll, roll or cycle. This comfortable route with highly visible street crossings is expected to increase cycling ridership, build support for further bike network growth and support transportation equity by filling gaps in current public transit coverage.
The original estimate for this project from the 2019 Bike St. John’s Master Plan was $2.5M. The City was successful in securing funding through the Invest in Canada Infrastructure (ICIP) Program.
Engagement and Modifications
In November 2020, a consultant was hired to complete the engineering design and conduct public engagement.
From December 2020 through February 2021, residents and stakeholder groups were invited to share their perspectives, ideas, and concerns about Kelly’s Brook Shared-Use Path through several engagement activities, including a focus group, virtual information sessions, meetings with advisory committees, mapping and idea tools on engagestjohns.ca, an online survey, and a meeting with Empire Avenue residents on the proposed road alignment portion of the path. Thousands of individuals engaged in this process, and the feedback has been used to inform design decisions around elements such as lighting, surface materials, path alignment, trailhead and rest areas, wayfinding, and other features.
Throughout the design process, challenges identified with the alignment specifically along the section East of Carpasian Road required the scope of the project to be broken into two phases. Phase I includes Carpasian Road heading West to Columbus Drive and Phase II includes Carpasian Road heading East to King’s Bridge Road. Some sections of existing trail will be relocated to avoid steep grades and tight turns and to improve accessibility; the existing trail will be widened to 3.0 metres; and some sections of the route will be installed along street corridors.
The scope of the construction work includes clearing and grubbing, removing existing trail surface, removing and replacing fencing, fill and grading, installing a new asphalt trail surface, and reinstating the trail edge. The project includes the construction of rest areas, trailheads, signage, wayfinding, landscaping and lighting along the path.
New Cost Estimates Mean City Must Seek New Funding Programs to Proceed
The consultant was asked to focus on the Phase I section in 2021. This design package is 95% complete and was expected to be ready for tender for Spring 2022. However, given current market conditions the estimate for Phase I scope of work is now estimated to be $4.9M, of which, $1.4 M is required for the lighting. Phase 2 (Carpasian Rd to Kings Bridge Rd) is estimated at $2M, for a total project estimate of $6.9M.
For projects of this size and scope, the City relies on funding from both the federal and provincial governments; funding programs such as the ICIP match or double the municipality’s contributions, so they make this work possible.
Consultation has concluded