Marine Contractors Inc. will take over responsibility for $7.8 million of roadwork in western Newfoundland under an agreement with the provincial government and Humber Valley Paving.
Humber Valley Paving was the original contract holder for the work, awarded in September 2013, and completed $50,000 worth of the work that fall, under the direction of the provincial government, because it was considered necessary before the winter.
The plan was to complete the rest, the bulk of the work package, this year.
Yet Humber Valley Paving approached the province in May, requesting to assign the tasks at hand to another company, Marine Contractors.
All construction contracts issued by the Department of Transportation and Works allow for contractors to request an assignment of all or part of the work to another contractor.
The cost of the work does not change.
The work to be done covers re-paving of about 11.9 kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) from South Brook Bridge to the interchange at Route 490, a realignment of the TCH at the St. George’s intersection with Route 461 and paving at various points around the Port au Port Peninsula.
Marine Contractors now holds the contract and responsibility for fulfilling contract requirements. The same warranty is in place.
The company will have to provide a certificate of insurance, a performance bond, and labour and materials bond covering all of its obligations.
The work is expected to be completed by October, said Transportation Minister Nick McGrath, announcing the government’s approval of the plan during a news conference at the Confederation Building Thursday.
“This is a seamless transition from one contractor to another,” he said.
As an added measure to reassure the public of sound decision-making, he said the province had consultants at KPMG review the proposed change in contractors. The reassignment was cleared. The KPMG report is posted online.
“Nobody is questioning this announcement today,” Liberal MHA Tom Osborne said to reporters after the news conference, although he did not leave his response at that.
“I still have plenty of questions and plenty of concerns on how they dealt with Humber Valley (Paving) in general, especially concerning the Labrador contract,” Osborne said, referring to a contract now under review by the provincial auditor general.
The NDP took issue with having a consultant look at the change in contractors for the work in western Newfoundland.
“It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be costing the taxpayer. You may think that, but it is, because it cost us to get a legal opinion here by KPMG,” said MHA George Murphy. “So there were an extra few dollars passed out, obviously. Again, it didn’t cost anything for the actual contract itself, but to pass it over to another company, it did, albeit it may have been a small price to pay.”