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Burlington council gets nasty surprise about grade separation

Burlington council gets nasty surprise about grade separation

In the words of the old old 70’s tune, “how long has this been going on?” Instead of $15 Million, Burlington’s share of a grade separation project at Burloak and the CNR could skyrocket to more than $44 Million—a near tripling of the original estimate.. That was the news conveyed to Burlington councillors at a special meeting Tuesday, The Burloak Grade Separation Project, a project led by Metrolinx, and in partnership with the Town of Oakville, would see the construction of an underpass (road-under-rail) at the existing at-grade crossing on Burloak Drive.

In 2018,all parties agreed on a capped cost share, of 50 per cent Metrolinx and 25 per cent each for Burlington and Oakville, for a total project cost of $60 million. Metrolinx recently informed the City of Burlington and the Town of Oakville that the total project cost is now $177 million.

Following the update, City Council passed a motion calling on Metrolinx to adhere to the previously agreed upon capped costing arrangement for the project.

The contract for this project was awarded by Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx on Feb. 28, 2022.

 The original plan for the project

•             Construction of an underpass (road-under-rail) at the existing at-grade crossing including retaining walls and provisions to electrify the GO service

•             Temporary detour of Burloak Drive to the east to build the underpass below the rail corridor

•             Two road closures at the rail crossing for several weeks to complete the road detour

•             Temporary diversion of existing tracks to the south during construction

•             Relocation of utilities (e.g. sewer, hydro, and communications) to build the underpass

A city news release says Metrolinx knew About the tripling of the cost of the project last June but didn’t share the information with its two city partners. 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward was not impressed. ““This is the kind of government cost overrun and delay that rightly makes our residents fume and demand answers. It is beyond belief that this project is several years late and has ballooned from an estimated cost of $60 million to $177 million. There was no warning to our staff, no accountability and no transparency about the cause of the overruns that are well above even the usual increases we’ve seen recently in labour and materials. We were all blindsided. To then demand the City contribute an additional $30 million to cover these overruns, on top of the capped $15 million amount we have agreed to, is completely unacceptable.”

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