Ontario's Ministry of Transportation tells CBC Windsor it knew in "late 2012" a number of girders manufactured for the Herb Gray Parkway did not meet code.

Some of those girders were installed in January.

"MTO first became aware that the girders in question did not meet the requirements of the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code in late 2012 and has been working with Infrastructure Ontario, the project manager, to gather information in order to develop a solution," MTO spokesperson Bob Nichols wrote in an email to CBC Windsor.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Glen Murray admitted girders that didn't meet code were installed this year.

"The first ones were installed in January of this year. Sometime since then, people became aware of non-conforming components," Murray told Peter Duck on CBC Windsor's Early Shift.

CBC News confirmed Tuesday that contractor Freyssinet manufactured the girders in Windsor.

Murray said he became aware of the "non-conformity" in mid-May and was then briefed on the matter June 19.


Girders made by Freyssinet sit in a storage area in west Windsor. (CBC News)

Monday, he ordered workers stop installing the girders.

"We in Ontario do not allow people onto structures that don’t meet code," Murray said.

Murray didn't deny the MTO knew of the problem in late 2012.

"Usually, these things work their way through and administratively with infrastructure Ontario and enforcement these things get resolved," he said. "That usually takes a couple months. There are a couple arms wrestling and different interpretation by engineers."

Beams installed already

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 Herb Gray Parkway.

"The manufacturing process of the girders used on the parkway has been certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the standard in compliance, safety and durability," the group said in a media release Monday night. "Every girder installed in the Parkway bears the CSA mark."

The WEMG is a consortium of three of the world's largest infrastructure developers and are responsible for designing, financing, constructing, and maintaining the parkway over 30 years.

Michael Hatchell, project director for Parkway Infrastructure Constructors, insists the girders "are safe and of the highest standard" but stopped short of saying they meet the standards of the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code.

'We are confident that the girders are safe.' — MIchael Hatchell, parkway project director

"The question of code is what the review will be handling but what we can say today is that we are confident that the girders are safe and of the highest standard," Hatchell said in a statement emailed to CBC Windsor. "We are using some processes that while common practice in other parts of Canada and the U.S. are new to Ontario.

"We understand that the government wants to review these and assure themselves to the same degree. That is their job, we understand that. We will work with them on this. We want to respectful of that review process."

Murray said an independent panel will meet "right away."

"And make a recommendation to the government on what the disposition of the girders should be," he said. "This will not be a political process. It will be an evidence- and engineering-based process."

Murray said the panel has 30 days to report back and that it's possible the girders already installed could stay if independent "properly trained engineers have deemed them satisfactory" and that they meet the "equivalency" of the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code.