Walterdale Bridge contractor could face $10.5M in late fines

WATCH ABOVE: Global News' continuing coverage of the Walterdale Bridge construction delays.

Based on daily delay penalties, the primary contractor building Edmonton’s new Walterdale Bridge could end up paying more than $10 million in fines.

Construction of the $155-million bridge is two years behind schedule, and while the delays won’t cost the city anything, the contractor, Acciona-Pacer Joint Venture, is being charged two kinds of penalties: $10,000/day for site occupancy and $7,000/day for administration costs.

READ MORE: Walterdale Bridge opening delayed again, to mid-2017

The site occupancy penalties started accruing on June 12, 2015 — the day APJV promised the bridge would open —  and would amount to nearly $8.2 million if the bridge opened today. The administration costs penalties started accruing on Oct. 15, 2016, and would amount to nearly $2.3 million if the bridge opened today.

That’s $10.45 million.

“Acciona-Pacer Joint Venture (APJV) is responsible for full project delivery risk, including cost and schedule, and is contractually committed to completing the project at the contracted stipulated sum,” city spokesperson Kelly FitzGibbon said in an email to Global News.

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“There is no firm number until the project opens and we do a final tally of penalties. We anticipate it being over $5 million but that’s all we can say definitively.”

“The final sum for actual damages are calculated at the completion of the project, when any and all change orders have been submitted and considered,” FitzGibbon added.

READ MORE: Lawsuit questions construction quality on Edmonton’s Walterdale Bridge

Construction of the bridge started in 2013 and was supposed to be complete by fall 2015. However, during the spring of 2015 the date was pushed back because the bridge’s 42 steel beams, which were made in South Korea, began arriving months later than expected.

The bridge was then scheduled to open in late 2016, but it was pushed back again to mid-2017 because of weather-sensitive work, including asphalt paving, which couldn’t be done until after winter.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Walterdale Bridge facing a lengthy delay

In June, the city said the bridge would open to traffic sometime in September 2017 but did not provide an exact date.

READ MORE: New Walterdale Bridge will open in September after long delay 

“The project is on budget,” Adam Laughlin, deputy city manager for integrated infrastructure services, said in June.

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“The contractor is paying damages on a regular basis and that’s the incentive we’re hoping will encourage the contractor to get this bridge open as soon as possible.”

WATCH: New show explores Walterdale Bridge construction 

The city said the Walterdale is the most complicated bridge it has ever constructed in Edmonton.

“I gather they’ve had some additional challenges with the complexity of the bridge and challenging weather over the summer,” Mayor Don Iveson said previously.

“We’re going to save money overall because of the penalties. So while it’s disappointing, of course, that the project is delayed, the city will get good value for money out of this replacement bridge.”

Laughlin said the old bridge is being monitored, structurally, to ensure it remains in good shape to carry traffic but at this point there are no concerns. The old bridge will be demolished once the new one is open.

— With files from Caley Ramsay

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