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Local company awarded $1.8-million bridge contract

Nov 18 2011

Ruskin Construction Ltd. has been awarded the contract for pre-construction work on the Johnson Street Bridge Replacement Project.

The $1.84-million contract will include the city's hard costs in the relocation of Telus communication lines and the removal of the rail bridge, said Mayor Dean Fortin.

Work is expected to start in December and to be completed by spring.

"We're excited that the contract for the deconstruction of the rail bridge has been awarded," Fortin said.

"It's a local company, which has been subcontracted to Ralmax, which is a real local company — a city company. So it's a local company and local jobs."

The deconstruction of the rail bridge has come in about $800,000 more than the $1 million originally estimated but it's still manageable, Fortin said.

Overall deconstruction of the existing bridge was estimated at $6.4 million. The city had originally estimated $2.9 million for the rail bridge deconstruction plus the Telus line relocation. The city will provide Telus $1.9 million for its relocation costs, leaving $1 million for the rail bridge deconstruction and the city's costs associated with the Telus duct.

The city is responsible for the cost of underwater work associated with the duct relocation and has to compensate Telus for its costs on shore, Fortin said.

"So the cheapest bid we just got in by Ruskin is $1.8 million. So it's about $800,000 over [budget]," Fortin said.

"Between giving $1.9 million to Telus plus this award work we're expecting to spend $3.7 million, which leaves us $2.7 million to take down the road work. If we need to, we can use the overall general contingency fund which is at 15 per cent," he said.

Ruskin Construction was the lowest of five bidders for the contract, coming in about $600,000 below the next closest bid. Ralmax Group of Companies, of Victoria, is listed as the subcontractor for the project, said city spokeswoman Katie Josephson.

Fortin was pleased that the contract will also mean economic opportunities for members of the Songhees First Nation.

The Ralmax Group, in partnership with Prince George-based Ruskin Construction, has recently acquired some of the assets of Pacific Industrial Marine of Cowichan Bay.

The yet-to-be-named new company created through that acquisition is a partnership between Ralmax, Ruskin and the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations. It will involve some employment opportunities for First Nations and will be part of the sub-contract, said a Ralmax spokesman.

"Not only is it a local company and local jobs but it's also economic development for our First Nations. So this is all exciting and it's within the budget for the deconstruction," Fortin said. All of the firms that bid on this phase of the project were from British Columbia and went through a pre-qualification assessment of general contractors earlier this year, said Josephson.

The contractor will submit a schedule of work to the city within the next two weeks.

The rail bridge was taken out of service in March and left in an upright position after consultants found that the bridge's vertical steel support columns had deteriorated to the point it was no longer safe.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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