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City awards $7.9M contract for Blackfriars Bridge rehabilitation in London

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

The city is shelling out $2 million more than expected to rehabilitate Blackfriars Bridge.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of awarding a contract to McLean Taylor Construction Limited with a $7.9 million price tag during Tuesday evening’s full council meeting. It was the lowest of the two bids the city received for the project, which was expected back in June to cost $5.9 million.

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

“Are we able to pull [funding] from those sources because other projects were under budget,” asked Councillor Josh Morgan. “Or are we pushing things back in the schedule to be able to accommodate this particular infrastructure project?”

City staff replied they’re not expecting the increased cost to impact or delay the city’s other infrastructure projects.

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

With just shy of $570,000 set aside for inspections and contract administration by Dillon Consulting Limited along the way, the total project is slated at roughly $8.6 million. It’s a far cry from the $4.6 million the restoration was expected to cost earlier in the process, as part of the environmental assessment.

The plan for the 172-year-old bridge is to lift it from its supports, take it apart, and complete part of the repairs during the winter months inside a shop. Staff say a controlled environment allows for better quality work, and also means reducing safety concerns for workers.

The construction, set to begin this month, will increase the bridge’s lifespan up to 75 years.

It’s been closed to cars since 2013, but after a reopening slated for November 2018, it’ll be used by pedestrians, cyclists, and eastbound traffic.

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