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Victoria awards contract to take down rail portion of the Johnson Street Bridge

Ruskin Construction has won the bid to take down the rail portion of the Johnson Street Bridge, and relocate Telus communications lines under the bridge.

The company is headquartered in Prince George but has an office in Mill Bay.

It has listed Victoria-based Ralmax Group of Companies as a subcontractor.

"It is local companies, local jobs," said Mayor Dean Fortin on Friday.

One possibility being explored right now is a joint venture with the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

"We don't have anything finalized yet," said Doug Crowder, CFO for Ralmax. The hope is to subcontract some of the work to a newly registered company, with a working name of Industrial Marine Joint Venture.

The chiefs of both nations are considering taking an equity position in the venture, said Crowder. The partnership would also involve opportunities for skilled-trades employment and apprenticeship for members of the First Nations.

The city reviewed five bids before selecting Ruskin, the lowest bidder, with a bid of $1.8 million.

The amount, said  Fortin, "is at the high end of what we budgeted for this portion of the work."

It is, however, within budget, he added.

Ruskin Construction will submit its schedule in the next two weeks. The city expects work to begin in December and conclude by spring.

Other bids ranged from a low of $2.4 million to a high of $3.4 million.

The Johnson Street Bridge replacement project has an estimated price tag of $77 million and must be complete by March 2016 to meet federal funding deadlines. The city has received a $21 million grant from the federal government for the project and plans to borrow $49.2 million.

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