City council has not been kept properly abreast of the escalating costs in the Gertrude Street bridge project, according to Coun. Jack McLeman.
“I was pretty angry when I read in the paper that we’re going to be coming back for more money and council wasn’t told first,” said McLeman.
“Council has not been told anything.”
The costs for the Gertrude Street bridge project were originally at $249,500 and tendered to K&G Installations.
Since then, city engineer Guy Cicon has been back in front of council to ask for more funding in December, increasing the price to $347,000 due to $50,000 worth of Fortis BC costs and $47,000 for work on the bridge itself.
Speaking last week, Cicon said that costs would continue to rise beyond that $347,000.
City streets superintendent Wilf Taekema was grilled about the status of the bridge by council at Monday night’s meeting.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions going around. Was there a proper consultation done about the bridge prior?” Coun. Denis Sauve.
“I’m just trying to see how the city could avoid something like this again. We’re almost doubling the costs and facing the taxpayers. We count on these consultants and their estimates… or don’t we? I’m almost scared right now to see any consultant report on an engineering project because I’m afraid of the estimate being lower or higher.”
“Once the demolition was undertaken there were some things that became apparent,” said Taekema.
“[There was} some additional steelwork in behind the abutment walls that wasn’t in the original design, some connection details, some additional plates that need to be constructed.”
The Fortis BC work also ended up costing more than the $50,000 originally asked for by Cicon in December.
“Their direct costs were put under earlier requests [for more funding] but then the contractor had to deal with the gas line being supported by the existing sidewalk,” said Taekema.
Some work also needed to be done off the bridge. The bridge over Kitsuksis Creek was originally constructed in the 1930s.
“Once we had to excavate outside and into the approaches we realized that the timbers that were holding up the dirt on the outside of the bridge, those had to come out and be replaced.”
McLeman said that while the city has no other choice but to sign off on the work being done, he wants some answers.
“Before I’ll vote for anymore money released, I want to see the bills. I’m guessing another $100,000-200,000.”