News / Edmonton

Walterdale Bridge to be delayed into 2017

Long-delayed bridge is delayed again.

The long-awaited bridge will be delayed into 2017.

Supplied

The long-awaited bridge will be delayed into 2017.

The Walterdale Bridge is now expected to open to traffic almost two years after it was first promised to open.

In an update going to city council next week, city staff admit the bridge — which was originally supposed to open in fall 2015 — has been delayed into next year.

The city announced last fall the $155-million bridge would open this fall, after delays caused by steel that took longer than expected to arrive from fabrication facilities in South Korea.

But Adam Laughlin, the city’s general manager of Integrated Infrastructure Services, said there isn’t enough good weather left in 2016 to finish concrete pours and lay asphalt.

He said the bridge has been beset by delays largely because it’s not a cookie-cutter structure.

“There’s a lot of complexity here. This isn’t building a Lego-type bridge,” he said.

The delay will not come cheap for the contractor, Acciona Pacer Joint Venture, who were already paying a $10,000 per day penalty for having missed last year’s targets.

That penalty will rise to $17,000 per day starting on Nov. 1 and until the bridge opens to traffic.

Laughlin said the city might have to be more realistic about timelines in future for complex projects.

“For these large-scale projects we need to manage expectations," he said. "When we set deliverable dates it comes with complexity."

Mayor Don Iveson said that might be a discussion council needs to have.

He noted that after some high-profile projects ran over budget, the city became intolerant of cost-overruns, but if it takes a harder line on project schedules, it could end up paying for it.

“It’s just like if you’re renovating a kitchen and you say you have to have it done by Thanksgiving. Your contractor is not going to do it for the same price.”

The Walterdale Bridge is now expected to open to traffic almost two years after it was first promised to open.

In an update going to city council next week, city staff admit the bridge — which was originally supposed to open in fall 2015 — has been delayed into next year.

The city announced last fall the $155-million bridge would open this fall, after delays caused by steel that took longer than expected to arrive from fabrication facilities in South Korea.

But Adam Laughlin, the city’s general manager of Integrated Infrastructure Services, said there isn’t enough good weather left in 2016 to finish concrete pours and lay asphalt.

He said the bridge has been beset by delays largely because it’s not a cookie-cutter structure.

“There’s a lot of complexity here. This isn’t building a Lego-type bridge,” he said.

The delay will not come cheap for the contractor, Acciona Pacer Joint Venture, who were already paying a $10,000 per day penalty for having missed last year’s targets.

That penalty will rise to $17,000 per day starting on Nov. 1 and until the bridge opens to traffic.

Laughlin said the city might have to be more realistic about timelines in future for complex projects.

“For these large-scale projects we need to manage expectations," he said. "When we set deliverable dates it comes with complexity."

Mayor Don Iveson said that might be a discussion council needs to have.

He noted that after some high-profile projects ran over budget, the city became intolerant of cost-overruns, but if it takes a harder line on project schedules, it could end up paying for it.

“It’s just like if you’re renovating a kitchen and you say you have to have it done by Thanksgiving. Your contractor is not going to do it for the same price.”