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Kelowna's Bernard Avenue work on schedule to wrap up by the end of November
The latest phase of work on Bernard Avenue is on track to be complete by the end of November.
But, with no sign of an agreement in sight between FortisB.C. and its locked out electrical workers, the timing of the final phase of work on Kelowna's main downtown street remains up in the air.
The city had to split what was to be the third and final phase of the Bernard Avenue revitalization work in two because part of the project called for work on underground electricity lines between Ellis Street and Pandosy Street. That work had to be done by unionized FortisB.C. employees.
But they are currently locked, embroiled in a labour dispute with FortisB.C. which handles the electric utility in the City of Kelowna. That labour dispute shows no signs of being settled any time soon. The workers have been locked out since July.
So, last month, the city announced it would only proceed with the portion of Bernard from St. Paul Street to Ellis Street and leave the Ellis to Pandosy portion until next spring, pending a resolution of the FortisB.C. labour dispute.
Getting an earlier phase of the project completed faster then originally planned had put the project ahead of schedule. The spring 2014 completion returns it to the original time line, said the city's head of construction services Bill Berry.
According to the city, the underground utility work that needed to be done on the St. Paul to Ellis portion is now complete and the project is moving to the "streetscaping" phase above ground. Earlier phases of the $14 million project included Abbott Street to Pandosy and St. Paul to Richter Street.
Asphalt was scheduled to be laid this week for the paving of Bernard between St. Paul and Ellis and for the the parking pads at the sides of the road.
Once the paving is complete, the existing walkway will be moved from its current location next to the buildings onto the newly paved roadway. Corridors from the centre of the road will allow pedestrian access to each business located along that stretch of Bernard. While vehicles have not been able to use the portion of the Bernard under reconstruction, pedestrian access has been maintained for the businesses.
In order to complete the work over the next eight weeks, crews will be allowed to work between 6 a.m. and midnight on the site.
The city says weather will be the biggest factor, as the pouring concrete cannot be done when the weather is too cold because it will not cure properly.
The final phase of the work will be done in the spring if there is a settlement between FortisB.C. and its electrical workers.
If not, the city has said it is not sure what it will do.
"That would be our worst-case scenario," Berry said when the city announced it was splitting the final phase into two separate parts.