Remedies available if bridge construction slips: city

A day after announcing the receivership of Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge general contractor ConCreate USL, a city general manager emphasized Wednesday that there are remedies in place if the construction schedule stalls or slips.

According to Wayne Newell, so far construction is proceeding and there are no complaints from subcontractors about missed payments as receiver Grant Thornton takes responsibility for the Barrhaven-area project.

But there are options available if the city needs to take action, said the city’s general manager of infrastructure services in an OBJ interview.

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

If subcontractors run into payment problems, they will have a remedy under the Construction Lien Act, according to Mr. Newell.

On contracts falling under this act, the city is required to hold back 10 per cent of its payment until the project is complete, in most cases, he said. That money could instead be used to partially recoup subcontractor costs.

The city itself is protected by a $23-million performance bond that would kick in if ConCreate fell into default on its obligations. This is a standard feature of construction contracts, according to Mr. Newell.

If invoked, the bonding company would be responsible for seeing the project through. The bond provides an extra 50 per cent to the original contracted price to allow for changes in contractors and other possible costs associated with this.

Bolton, Ont.-based ConCreate USL was named in receivership papers filed in an Ontario court, citing $34.6 million owed to creditors. The company, which has 35 projects underway right now, is also finishing the Cyrville Bridge reconstruction in Ottawa.

The $45.2-million Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge was originally intended to be finished in early 2012, but that has now been pushed back to late this year. Mr. Newell said the reasons for the delay are still being assessed, and as such he could not speculate on the effect on the original contract. 

The federal and provincial governments are each funding a third of the bridge costs.

A representative from the Barrhaven BIA, one of the most vocal proponents of the project, said merchants would not face hardship if the bridge was delayed by six months or a year.

The project is expected to bring more people in from Riverside South and surrounding communities that would not have gone through Barrhaven before.

But in the meantime, there are 70,000 locals using Barrhaven’s stores, meaning it is not “make or break” for the merchants, said executive director Andrea Steenbakkers.

“I am certain (the city) will be quick to rectify the stuation,” she added.

“I do think the project is a priority to the city as well as to the federal government, so we’re pretty confident that there won’t be too much of a delay.”

Get our email newsletters

Get up-to-date news about the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Ottawa and beyond.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.