Committee signs off on increased restoration cost for London’s Blackfriars Bridge

Blackfriars Bridge as seen in July 2015. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

A city committee has signed off on the cost to repair London’s most iconic bridge.

On Tuesday evening, the civic works committee voted unanimously in favour of the $7.9 million cost to repair the 142-year-old Blackfriars Bridge.

READ MORE: Londoners get preview of repair plans for historic Blackfriars Bridge

When city staff put the repair work out to tender earlier this year they estimated the cost to be $5.9 million, however, the lowest bid the city received was for $7.9 million. Both figures are higher than the $4.6 million it was thought the restoration would cost during the environmental assessment process.

Councillor Harold Usher remains supportive of the project.

“I’m very proud of what we’re doing here, I think this is one of a kind, indeed. I really believe that this is something that should be recorded for all generations.”

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The price tag went up by about $2 million due to the nature of the work that is required and because of a delay related to a challenge from the public over council’s decision to repair the bridge.

The challenge was ultimately denied.

READ MORE: Repairs to historic Blackfriars Bridge could be moved indoors during winter

Edward Soldo, director of roads and transportation, says the delay had an impact.

“It’s hard to quantify what that delay has done in terms of cost but I think it’s very safe to say that the delay in this project has now moved the tendering of this project into a very busy time frame in terms of construction season.”

Staff says while the more thorough restoration comes with an additional cost, it also triples the projected service life of the bridge from 25 years to 75 years.

The report estimates the restoration to be complete by November 2018.

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