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Johnson Street bridge manager resigns

Jun 19 2012

Victoria's project manager for the Johnson Street bridge project has resigned.

Mike Lai is returning to the District of Saanich as manager of transportation, a job he left four years ago. Lai, an engineer, leaves his Victoria job July 6 and starts his job in Saanich July 9.

Lai served as Victoria's assistant director of engineering until two years ago, when he was assigned to lead the Johnson Street bridge-replacement project.

"It takes me back to what I've done for most of my career, which is transportation, engineering and transportation planning, so you have to take these opportunities when they come up," Lai said.

He said it's a logical time for him to make the move in terms of the bridge project.

"This is now transitioning to the construction phase of the project. So I've been involved in more of the planning and the project development up until now. Once the contractor is selected, then it goes straight into construction," Lai said.

Peter Sparanese, Victoria's city manager of operations, will now lead the bridge project.

Three engineering firms shortlisted for the bridge construction were to have submitted their pricing to the city this week. That deadline has now been extended until June 25.

The extension will allow the firms time to conduct a more detailed review of the design and should result in more reliable pricing, says city spokeswoman Katie Josephson.

Council will receive the estimates in a closed meeting. The contract is to be awarded to one of the firms this fall. At an estimated $92.8 million cost, the Johnson Street bridge-replacement is the largest single capital project ever undertaken by the city.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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