Council’s executive committee hashed over the delayed Walterdale bridge Tuesday, and has learned that you could have been driving over it next month. But the big picture wouldn’t have been good.
“Quite frankly Mr. Laughlin and his guys could have really pushed and rushed this,” city manager Linda Cochrane said. “If we tried to make the deadline we would have had to go back and do some asphalt repaving in the new year. Or in the year after. But the integrity of the bridge would have been compromised too, and our guys we’rent’ prepared to do that.”
Councillors were grilling the administration over what is the third major project to come in late, after a city report last week confirmed the bridge won’t open until next year. And the key point now is the city won’t give time lines in months, or even seasons, but years, as in the goal from the city manager is the next target date is 2017.
Cochrane said city management will learn from this. “I think we need to go back to some of these projects and figure out the average delay factor,” of the two bridge projects and the Metro Line contract. “And I think we need to build that into our estimates better.”
“Because it is so much in the public eye we need to look at some of the past things we’ve done, and where we’ve been late and understand why we’ve been late and if we need to apply a certain amount of contingency factor in the time line, and we don’t do that now.”
As was reported last week, the late arrival of the steel from South Korea set the project back a year. Difficulty of the sub-contractors working with the complicated design of the project added that time. Then then ran into an operational window closing with below five degree temperatures approaching making concrete work and paving impossible for this year.
“This is gut wrenching,” Cochrane said of the delays when the project is so high profile. But the lesson learned in construction of three rec centres is to only promise what year you intend to complete construction. It worked for Clareview and Terwillegar, and with the Meadows they were out by a couple of months and had to push the opening into the following year.