Politics won't determine fate of girders, says Hatfield
The fate of the substandard concrete girders installed on North Talbot Road during construction of the Herb Gray Parkway will be known shortly, according to Ontario's Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Glenn Murray.
Murray's department started investigating Parkway girders in July, when it became known that approximately 560 girders were manufactured in a way that does not meet code. Of the 560, about 320 girders were installed at two unopened structures - Tunnel 2, known as the Labelle Tunnel and Tunnel 7, known as the Villa Borghese Tunnel.
Those girders were made by the spanish company Freyssinet.
In August the Ministry also began examining girders made by a Windsor company Prestressed Group. Those girders were installed on the North Talbot Road overpass. That overpass was closed to traffic.
On Thursday, Murray released a statement about the North Talbot girders.
"Today [Thursday] the experts provided the Deputy Minister and Chief Engineer with their supplemental report on these additional girders," said Murry in the release. "The Ministry of Transportation’s chief engineer is now reviewing this report and will report back me as quickly as possible."
Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield has been a vocal critic of the way the government has dealt with the Parkway girders.
However, he met with Murray recently and now feels confident the Minister will make decisions based on facts not politics.
"I take the minister at his word," said Hatfield. "He's not playing politics with this. He's left this up to the experts. The Minister says whatever the chief engineer says... that's what he'll do. So if the engineer says take them out, then those girders are coming out of there."
Issues surrounding the girders have delayed construction of some parts of the Parkway and led to the layoff of about 300 workers.
"The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway is a vital economic link and provides employment for many local residents," said Murray in Thursday's release. "I want to again thank the residents of Windsor and Essex County for their patience during this process.”
On Friday afternoon Murray, and Windsor-West MPP Teresa Piruzza, will give an update on theHerb Gray Parkway. The Chief Engineer for the Ministry of Transportation, Steve Cripps, will also answer questions.