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Bridge cost stays put at $92.8 million

Jul 27 2012
Johnson Street Bridge 

Johnson Street Bridge

Photograph by: timescolonist.com (July 2012)

Stable steel prices and an aggressive construction market could help put the Johnson Street Bridge replacement project on budget and on schedule, say Victoria city councillors.

The politicians emerged from a three-hour meeting at city hall Thursday, applauding the bridge's project team for trying to make sure the city will not pay more than the $92.8 million already on the books.

The project team is working with three companies - PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., Peter Kiewit Infrastructure Co. and WCC Construction - to determine which can complete the project for the best value.

"It appears that the universe is lining up in the residents' favour with steel prices being flat and the construction industry being soft," said acting mayor Shellie Gudgeon. "We're getting very aggressive bidding and a lot of people interested. I think it bodes well for the citizens of Victoria."

Eight firms, specializing in building movable bridges, applied to the city and outlined their qualifications for the replacement.

The project team, in June, narrowed the options to the three companies.

Victoria senior staff say there will not be traditional bids as with most construction projects. Instead, the project team will determine who can complete the bridge and surrounding amenities at the best cost, based on the general design.

"The pricings [those companies] shared are all in confidence. Now we're trying to get [the cost] down to where we want it to be," said Peter Sparanese, general manager of operations with the City of Victoria. "At the end of the day, we'll get the scope of work that we want - and all the amenities for the best price."

A tentative deadline for submissions is Aug. 17, but the project team will consider more time, if that can keep costs lower.

Construction could start as early as this fall, Sparanese said.

At Thursday's meeting, council also commended several design changes to the surrounding roadways, based on public consultation, that will create more of a transportation hub for automobiles, buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

The suggestions were collected from open houses and a survey of neighbourhood associations. That feedback led to the creation of more public plazas and increased traffic calming to help make the bridge a destination spot.

There is a "strong desire for social gathering through community events, festivals and entertainment in plaza areas and new greenspace," according to a report presented by Katie Josephson, the city's spokeswoman.

Victoria Coun. Geoff Young had concerns about bicycle access to the bridge from the Vic West side. By the time the project is complete in March 2016, Young said the E&N trail will connect to an overhead path.

He would like to ensure cyclists can reach the bridge on the south side, rather than having to cross on the overhead path and then cycle around to Harbour Road and back to Johnson Street to cross the bridge.

1. Signalized intersection with four pedestrian crosswalks

2. Additional sidewalks

3. Plaza space for viewing

4. Future connection to David Foster Way

dspalding@timescolonist.com

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