New Bur­goyne Bridge in need of re­pairs

The Welland Tribune - - OPINION - Glafleche@post­media.com

GRANT LAFLECHE

The Bur­goyne Bridge could be re­duced to a sin­gle lane this week as work crews scram­bles to beat the weather to re­pair and repave its road sur­face.

Ja­son Marr, Ni­a­gara Re­gion’s man­ager of en­gi­neer­ing and struc­tures, said crews have been wait­ing for the right weather con­di­tions to re­place weath­er­proof­ing and as­phalt on the span.

He said when as­phalt was orig­i­nally laid down last Novem­ber it was done dur­ing poor weather. At the time, the work had to be done to com­plete the bridge’s su­per­struc­ture, but the in­clement weather caused prob­lems with the as­phalt later.

The as­phalt has been re­moved, but the road can­not be repaved un­til new weath­er­proof­ing ma­te­ri­als are laid down. Marr said the weath­er­proof­ing needs cer­tain weather con­di­tions for it to be in­stalled.

“We were hop­ing to see it done this week­end, but it was too hu­mid,” he said, adding work crews are aim­ing to have it done this week. “That’s the trick now; to get ev­ery­thing done while the weather is good. Oth­er­wise, we would end up back in the same po­si­tion.”

The repaving is one item of a list of “de­fi­cien­cies” that must be fixed be­fore the Re­gion will cer­tify the $95-mil­lion bridge is of­fi­cially com­pleted.

Marr said most of the work is cos­metic in na­ture and there are no safety or struc­tural prob­lems with the bridge.

More­over, he said the Re­gion is not foot­ing the bill for any of these touch-ups.

“These are de­fi­cien­cies that are work­man­ship is­sues, so those are things the con­trac­tor has to do,” he said.

One of the more no­tice­able cos­metic is­sues with the bridge is not sched­uled for re­pair — cracks have ap­peared in the bridge’s side­walks.

Marr said the cracks were ex­pected and are the re­sult of the con­crete ex­pand­ing and con­tract­ing with changes in tem­per­a­ture.

He said the cracks will be mon­i­tored and if they worsen re­pairs may be or­dered.

There will be some up­com­ing work on the side­walks, how­ever. Marr said mar­bling in the con­crete and other cos­metic ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties will be touched up.

Marr said he doesn’t have a time­line for the of­fi­cial com­ple­tion of the bridge to be cer­ti­fied, but said the de­fi­cien­cies will have to be re­paired be­fore that hap­pens.

Mean­while, On­tario Pro­vin­cial Po­lice say they are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the au­dit re­port on the bridge’s con­struc­tion.

In the spring, a $500,000 foren­sic au­dit con­ducted by Deloitte Canada found a host of sys­tem­atic prob­lems with the regional process that led to the bridge con­struc­tion. The re­port did not make any claims of crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing.

How­ever, the re­port said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into three is­sues — how con­tracts were awarded to Par­sons, the com­pany that de­signed the bridge, as well as regional con­tracts un­re­lated to the bridge is­sued to Cir­cle P. Pav­ing and Regional Trench­ing — could not pro­ceed fur­ther with­out the as­sis­tance of law en­force­ment.

The re­port also says the Re­gion needs to re­view its pro­cure­ment, con­flict of in­ter­est and hir­ing poli­cies.

In May, the Ni­a­gara Regional Po­lice ser­vices­board­passedthere­port­tothe OPP, re­quest­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

On Tues­day, an OPP spokesman said the re­port is in the hands of the OPP crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions branch, but said she could not fur­ther com­ment on an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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