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Design tweaks to keep Blue Bridge within budget, says city hall

A rendering of the new Johnson Street Bridge. The $63.2 million construction portion of the bridge is due to begin this summer after a majority of Victoria council approved a fixed-price contract with PCL Constructors Dec. 31. - Courtesy of City of Victoria
A rendering of the new Johnson Street Bridge. The $63.2 million construction portion of the bridge is due to begin this summer after a majority of Victoria council approved a fixed-price contract with PCL Constructors Dec. 31.
— image credit: Courtesy of City of Victoria

Mayor Dean Fortin and city staff are trumpeting a fixed-price contract to replace the Johnson Street Bridge, unveiling efficiencies they say will keep the project within its $92.8-million budget.

The $63.2-million contract with PCL Constructors Westcoast leaves about $2.8 million to cover unanticipated costs, under council’s approved spending cap for construction.

That’s near the five-per-cent contingency normally allocated for a major infrastructure project, city engineering director Dwayne Kalynchuk said Monday.

The city is still on the hook for any unanticipated geotechnical changes, such as the discovery of archeological remains, he said.

“That’s something we’ll know fairly early, because digging will begin soon,” Kalynchuk said, adding staff have already surveyed the area for such concerns. “But until you start digging out there, you really don’t know.”

Efficiency changes include a switch from steel to concrete for both the east and west approaches, as well as a hydraulic mechanical system to control the bridge wheel.

The reduced size of the hydraulic engineering room means crews won’t need to excavate the harbour bed below in that particular location, according to city documents.

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, creating about 900 short-term jobs, Fortin said. The new bridge should be open by fall 2015.

The existing bridge will remain open during construction, preventing the loss of about $13.4 million to downtown businesses.

To view the technical briefing, visit johnsonstreetbridge.com and follow the Media tab.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

 

 

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