UPDATE 2: Concrete woes halt footbridge construction on parkway

Disintegrating concrete on a $5-million pedestrian bridge in progress over the Airport Parkway may delay construction for another full season, according to the area councillor.

General contractor Louis W. Bray Construction has ordered an engineering assessment to determine what went wrong.

About 100 core samples of the concrete were gathered, said River Coun. Maria McRae. The completed report was originally expected weeks ago, but has been delayed until mid-April.

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“The bridge is nowhere near the expectations of the city,” said Ms. McRae. “You can see just from the road, it looks terrible.”

Some parts of the concrete have completely disintegrated, she said, and many areas are covered by large orange tarps.

When the report is released, the city will assemble a team of engineers to analyze the results and determine whether the existing structure can be patched or whether it must be torn down and rebuilt, Ms. McRae said.

If the structure must be demolished, it will take at least another full construction season to be completed, she said.

Louis W. Bray Construction will likely be the ones to finish the project, she added, to honour their contractual obligations.

“We’re waiting to hear back from our experts to assess what the issue is,” said Michael Bray, president of the construction firm.

“Until we get that report back, we’re at a standstill.”

After taking off molds around the concrete, it was evident that something was amiss, he said.

“The appearance was wrong,” Mr. Bray said, adding that it was not a typical problem.

Ms. McRae added she has been receiving complaints from the community about their “grave disappointment” about the delay.

“My role is to make sure that bridge gets built to the most impeccable safety standards, and to make sure that we as taxpayers aren’t on the hook for this.”

City council approved the concrete bridge in 2010, which was expected to be in use last fall with landscaping and final touches to be completed this May.

It is intended to give pedestrians coming from Hunt Club a path to the South Keys shopping centre and its Transitway stop.

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