Approximately 300 people building the Herb Gray Parkway are laid off in the wake of the controversy surrounding hundreds of girders not built to code.
"Since the girder situation has raised it's ugly head, we've lost about 75 workers in total," said Robert Petroni of Labourers' International Union of North America Local 625. "This is an engineering issue that has really nothing to do with the worker or us. We're caught in the middle here, just trying to get through the best we can."
Approximately 45 people who work for Freyssinet, the company who built the girders, are also said to be off the job right now.
Ontario Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Glen Murray said 560 girders that did not meet code were produced and 320 of them were installed in two tunnels of the $1.4-billion, 11-km project.
A three-month review of the girders was conducted by a committee of independent experts, after Murray halt installation in July.
Murray announced he will proceed with one of the committee’s two recommendations. The minister chose to salvage all of the approximately 500 girders manufactured by reinforcing the ones not yet installed and monitoring the condition of the ones already used. Those will be replaced if they crack before the expiry date.
Girders that have been installed will undergo “robust continuous structural health monitoring.”
Engineers with the group overseeing the project are in Toronto, working with the government on a plan of action moving forward.
Once things get sorted out, girder installation will move ahead as planned.
Cindy Prince, who speaks for the Windsor Essex Mobility Group, expects all the workers who are off work now will get a call back to work.
"They'll be busy, but they were busy before," Prince said. "It's a large project with ambitious schedules."
Petroni expects to have all members back to work and new ones hired to make up for lost time.
"Those workers have their work cut out for them," he said. "Like I said, if they work more overtime it's a blessing in a way."
Meanwhile, not all work has ground to a halt.
Because of the delay, the parkway is a little greener. The landscaping, including trees and grass, is all a year ahead of schedule.
"Once that grass starts growing on those hills and on the slopes it will really assist in reducing dust that neighbours are experiencing," Prince said.