Mayor wants Airport Parkway bridge review to 'name names'

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says some city employees could be punished for their handling of the Airport Parkway pedestrian bridge.

Delayed pedestrian bridge cost to swell to more than $10M

City says fix to Airport Parkway bridge to cost $4.6 million. 2:29

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says some city employees could be punished for their handling of the Airport Parkway pedestrian bridge.

On Tuesday the city's finance and economic development committee (FEDCO) heard the cost to fix the bridge would be an additional $4.6 million, pushing the total cost to more than $10 million.

The bridge, which was to be built in 2011, has been plagued by design and construction problems. The project was suspended in October after engineers raised concerns about the bridge's stay supporting system and steel anchorage piece at the top of the tower.

Work crews at the site of the Airport Parkway pedestrian bridge in December. It will cost an additional $4.6 million to fix the bridge. (City of Ottawa)

The city's solicitor, Rick O'Connor told the committee he'll be seeking all costs and damages from Genivar, the company responsible for the original design.

Genivar has also been banned from working for the city for two years, though it has some current projects with the city.

Watson wants 'unvarnished truth' about how project went awry

Watson said he wants to avoid a repeat of the bridge fiasco.

"I'm frustrated and angry that this project has gone so completely off the rails," he said.

A third-party consultant, SEG Management Consultants, will begin an independent review this month and report its findings to Watson and FEDCO.

Watson said he wants the reviewers to determine if city employees should be held personally accountable, and that they give him "an unvarnished, straight goods, name names" report.

"I will then take that up with the city manager," he said.

A rendering of what the Airport Parkway pedestrian and cycling bridge was supposed to look like when complete. (City of Ottawa)

Watson doesn't want to pre-judge the review, but wants staff to face consequences if they're found to have been at fault.

"If there's a history of problems with ... a couple of individuals overseeing projects, and we seem to be having problems with them, then yes, we have to take corrective action on that, there's no question about that," he said.

Delcan, the company now tasked with redesigning the bridge, is recommending a cable-stayed bridge, including an orthotropic steel deck, steel framing and steel handrails, which the committee was told is a more common design.

The bridge is now expected to be complete by November 2014.

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