Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Unfortunately for Albertans, it seems shoddy workmanship only results in a fine rather than the end of a contract.
The company set to pave Highway 2 through Slave Lake on HWY 2 failed to complete the paving on time as agreed in contract and will only be fined for this failure.
"I have met with the Minister numerous times advocating and asking that someone please provide us an update or give us some answers. Although the news I received is disappointing, we now know they will finish the paving next year," wrote MLA Pat Rehn on his Facebook.
The office of Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Transportation, issued the following statement.
"A total of 410 million of stimulus funding was issued for highway maintenance and rehabilitation. As a result of the 2020 CMR funding, the Highway 2 paving project was to be undertaken."
"[Beginning] with intersection improvements in August 2021, the Highway 2 project is approximately 25 per cent complete. However, due to the risk of inclement weather and the amount of paving to be undertaken, the contractor has elected to defer paving to June 2022."
"We understand this will be disappointing to Slave Lake area residents and visitors. Despite the contract completion date of October 15, 2021, the contactor has opted to be penalized for failure rather than begin work and risk having portions not be completed should inclement weather arise. As such, the contractor will now focus on site cleanup and ensuring there are no hazards over the winter."
The office also commented on the decrepit Highway 88.
"We are also aware of stakeholder requests to have Highway 88 rehabilitated. [It] is a 20-year old pavement that is nearing the end of its service life. We understand it is moderately rough with extensive cracking and potholes forming [...] Future rehabilitation projects for Highway 88 and other parts of Highway 2 will be evaluated and considered for prioritization and funding along with all other projects in the province.
"[We will monitor] safety related issues such as potholes and smaller pavement failures, ensuring they're addressed in a timely manner."
Brice Ferguson, a councilor for the town of Slave Lake, offered his two cents. "It's very disappointing. It seems that we have different maintenance standards in the Northern part of the province. As soon as we pass the 55th Parallel, the maintenance standard seems to change. We literally have highway lines painted in the dirt on Highway 88, yet the government has no plans to fix it. The Alberta government talks a lot about equalization, yet seems to ignore the "equalization" that happens in our own province. The North contributes quite significantly to Alberta's wealth yet we don't seem to receive our fair share back."
Arnold Viersen, MP for Peace River—Westlock, also commented to TBT. "It is disappointing to hear that there has been delay in the completion of the paving. In a year where the weather was not a significant factor, it seems surprising. I hope it is completed as soon as possible."