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Depending on the weather, construction projects in town have about two weeks left before the season wraps up.
Thomas Sky, the director of the Capital Unit said that there were two major construction projects this year.
“One of them was the rehabilitation of Rabaska Road where we replaced the sanitary sewer lines,” he said.
This year, the pandemic delayed the start of the construction season by almost two months; instead of midMay, crews were back to work only in July.
During the rehabilitation of Rabaska Road, the construction crews at the Capital Unit fixed surface drainage and replaced the road.
And for community members, the biggest change was the replacement of the sidewalk with a bicycle path.
“Those works are pretty much complete. Next year we are still going to have to finish the clean up – store some of the properties as well as put in the traffic lines and paint the lines on the recreation path,” said Sky.
The War Eagle Road project was the second major construction project at the Capital Unit this year.
“The water and sewer installation on War Eagle Road is complete. The road base is installed. All of the surface drainage is installed,” he said.
However, the crew was not able to meet the deadline to get the asphalt in so they are only going to pave it next year.
“We can connect people to the water line, but for the sanitary sewer, the lifting station is not ready. We are not 100 percent sure when it is going to be ready,” said Sky.
Sky explained that the pandemic has also increased the cost of construction equipment and materials. For example, the cost for the mechanical part of the lifting station almost doubled from $12,500 to $24,000.
“What we are going to do now is hook up the homes to the water line. We are going to hook them up to the sewer line in the spring,” he said.
But COVID-19 didn’t just delay the season. It made it much more difficult for the construction crews to do their jobs because of all of the safety measures that they were forced to adapt to.
“We had another project that we were supposed to do this year that we postponed until next year, so that’s the true effects that we had,” he said.
Construction workers don’t have to wear masks, but they do wear shields, said Sky.
If they are unable to social distance and they are not wearing their shields, then masks become mandatory.
“If you have two people riding in a pick-up truck now, they have to wear masks.”
Workers can no longer share tools either, but if they don’t have a choice, the tools must be disinfected every single time.
“Our portable toilets have to be cleaned twice a day. We removed the construction trailer that was used by the crews,” said Sky.
Sky explained that the construction trailer was removed because otherwise, it would have had to be cleaned twice a day as well.
“The working conditions changed. I don’t know if it’s harder, but it does have an effect,” he said.
The Capital Unit has approximately 30 construction workers.
Sky is hopeful that the next construction season will begin on time because crews will know what to do and will be better prepared because of the experience they gained this year.
Sky said that the workers’ attitude and their approach has been exemplary and overall very positive.
“I’m happy with the work that they were able to get done this year. They faced a lot of challenges. They did very well under some difficult situations. They were able to excel,” said Sky.
There was a learning curve, and different methodologies were implemented that still need to be modified, and the crews were very open-minded about the whole experience, according to Sky.
Sky said that homeowners have been incredibly understanding throughout the entire season and the crew at the Capital Unit appreciate their patience.
“I would like to thank the community for their patience considering the disruptions that we caused to their every day lives,” he said.