Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps officiated at the groundbreaking of the northbound transit priority lane at Douglas Street and Burnside Road East in January 2015. The next stage will see the southbound dedicated bus-and-bike lane built between Tolmie and Hillside avenues. (News files)

High construction costs send Douglas bus lane project $2.2 million higher

But re-tendered bid process by Victoria secures lower bid for Hillside-to-Tolmie stretch

The budget for the southbound rapid transit bus lane project on Douglas Street has taken a $2.2-million jump, largely due to the high cost of construction.

The Victoria Regional Transit Commission on Tuesday approved allocating $1.5 million from the Transit Futures Fund to cover the local portion of the increase for construction of what will be a 24-hour dedicated lane between Tolmie and Hillside avenues.

Roughly $700,000 will be covered by the province, with the total cost for this section now budgeted at $4.3 million.

The City of Victoria put out a tender for the project in the spring, but found that all bids far exceeded the $2.1-million budget.

A subsequent tendering process that closed Nov. 30 produced a preferred proponent whose bid was $365,000 lower than the previous lowest bid, and $840,000 lower than the latest cost estimate from a design engineer.

Commission chair and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice said the high bids are a result of a “hot” market for construction, specifically roadwork that impacts the availability of workers and materials.

The rapid transit lanes currently operate with bus and bike priority from 6 to 9 a.m. southbound and 3 to 6 p.m. northbound from Herald Street to Tolmie Avenue.

The dedicated lanes will eventually stretch to Uptown in Saanich.

Once the southbound Tolmie to Hillside section is completed, both sides of Douglas will become 24-hour bus-bike priority lanes and be off limits for other vehicles, except for those making a right turn in the same block.

No word on what company won the construction bid was immediately available.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

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