Airport Parkway pedestrian bridge project suspended
New team of engineers to determine best way forward, deputy city manager says
Construction of the Airport Parkway pedestrian and cycling bridge is being temporarily suspended, a city manager announced Friday.
The suspension will allow of a new team of engineers to determine how best to move forward with the project, said Nancy Schepers, the city's deputy manager of planning and infrastructure, at a technical briefing at City Hall.
This summer, professional engineers raised concerns about the bridge's stay supporting system and steel anchorage piece at the top of the tower. The city hired an independent bridge engineering firm to investigate the concerns and come up with recommendations.
The city then asked the design consultant, Genivar, to make design modifications.
"Following unproductive discussions with Genivar, the city lost confidence with them and their services were terminated," said a memo from Schepers to city council.
Delcan Corporation was hired by the city "to modify and assume full responsibility for the bridge design," the memo said.
Delcan's review should take until mid-November to complete and construction is suspended until the results are in.
There is no plan to cancel the project.
City plans legal action
The city plans to sue to recover costs "including but not limited to" any delays, claims, design review changes and construction modifications, the memo said.
The Friday briefing was chaired by Coun. Maria McRae, who earlier this week called for a third-party review into the long-delayed bridge.
The towering structure off Cahill Drive West north of Hunt Club Road was begun in 2011, but problems with the concrete used meant significant portions had to be dismantled and rebuilt.
"It's gone on long enough," McRae said on Tuesday. "The delay is significant, I share the disappointment of the community, I share the bewilderment of the community."
"I cannot make sense of this project why it's not done yet," she said.
The review will look at both internal and external factors, including the contractor, Louis W. Bray Construction Limited, said McRae.
The last time the city commissioned such a review was after the sink hole that swallowed a car and driver in Orleans. The same contractor, Louis Bray, was cleaning out a storm drain pipe under Hwy. 174 in 2012 when it collapsed later that day.