More than a year behind schedule already, more delays are now plaguing the East Langley Water Supply project.
Last week, sub-contractors were digging up sections of the pipe along 52nd Avenue near 238th and 240th Streets.
There is debris – sand and gravel – in the pipeline, and flushing the system with water wasn’t clearing it out, said Ramin Seifi, general manager of engineering for the Township.
It will take six to eight weeks for the new subcontractor to open up the pipes and clean them. Seifi said the expected completion date for the work is now early January.
The water line is intended to deliver a new supply of Metro Vancouver water to Aldergrove and the surrounding area. Work started in 2013, and was scheduled to be finished by the summer of 2014.
In 2014 there were seal failures on some pipes, and WorkSafe BC was called in after a suggestion that workers crawling into the two-foot-wide (60 centimetre) pipes was considered too dangerous.
Earlier this year, leaking joints required repairing defective pipes. There were major issues east of 248th Street up to 250th Street where the pipe curved to the north.
No one is more frustrated about the project’s delays than Chad German. His property, on 52nd Avenue at the edge of a ravine the pipeline had to cross, is part of the route.
He was initially told workers would be on his property for about six weeks, possibly three months. But work kept getting delayed, and the crews were taking up much of German’s five-acre rural property.
“Half my property I couldn’t access,” German said.
German said they also frequently made it difficult to get in and out of his driveway, and that a diesel generator needed for pumps ran night and day near his house, affecting his sleep for more than a year. The noise and lack of sleep caused stress and aggravated an old work injury, and German said he had to quit some schooling he was taking at the time.
He’s also worried the work might have affected the stability of the ravine bank directly behind his house.
The work on German’s property started in the spring of 2014, with surveyors there before that, and there was still equipment at the end of his driveway as of late October.
A 180-day extension to the first agreement to work on his property ran out in June. Since then, German has been disputing the issue with the Township, though he has allowed work to continue.
German doesn’t even think the pipeline needed to cross his property. The pipe bends near his end of 52nd Street.
“The whole thing has been bullying,” German said.
Right now he’s hoping to get some compensation for the lengthy use of his land.
“I’m not looking for money here, I’m looking to make it right,” German said.
Langley Township’s mayor Jack Froese said there is no doubt that the project is behind schedule. Froese said contractor WestPro will finish the job.
No one on council is happy with the situation, Froese said.
It is uncertain whether the delay has affected the redevelopment of Aldergrove. One of the reasons for building the pipeline was to take pressure off Aldergrove’s existing, overstretched water system.
The Township put in place a redevelopment plan for Aldergrove several years ago, but only a few projects have been proposed since then.
“There might be some developments that are waiting for water,” Froese said.
But he said so far the lack of a water line is having no direct affect on the water needs of Aldergrove residents.
The delays won’t likely hit Township taxpayers.
“I don’t expect that there’ll be any extra costs to the Township,” Froese said.
The Township has agreed on a set price with the contractor, and WestPro will have to take any loss from delays or cost overruns.
In the worst case scenario, if the Township were forced to take over the project, a bond paid for by WestPro would cover most costs.
However, that would require legal action.
Froese is aware of the complaints from people who have lived next to the pipeline construction for over a year now.
“Certainly, I feel for them,” he said.