July 30, 2019 8:55 am

London city council to vote on possible review of $14M Victoria Bridge overhaul

Victoria Bridge is set to undergo a $14-million replacement project, but some are arguing a new bridge can be built for less.

City of London

Londoners will find out Tuesday whether they have to wait even longer for a replacement to Victoria Bridge.

London’s civic works committee has voted to look for a cheaper option than the proposed $14-million replacement for the nearly century-old bridge that links Old South to the city’s downtown core.

READ MORE: Possible delay for London’s Victoria Bridge replacement as committee votes to explore cheaper options

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The current design includes the bridge’s historically minded arched design, which was crafted in response to comments from public meetings.

Last Tuesday, members heard from Ward 1 Coun. Michael van Holst that a redesign to a standard concrete girder bridge would shave $2.3 million off the total cost.

But going back to the drawing board doesn’t come without a price.

“Staff laid out to us that if we do want a new design for the bridge, to go back and even look at what the savings might be comes at an additional cost of $20,000,” said Ward 12 Coun. Elizabeth Peloza.

Peloza also warned of additional costs from further delaying the project.

“If the process is delayed again, [we will have to worry about] annual maintenance to the bridge and the potential for some emergency repairs, depending [on] how long we delay. That could be up to a couple hundred thousand dollars a year,” she said.

“The delay could reach one to two years, in which case it would also interfere with some other construction projects.”

READ MORE: $14M Victoria Bridge overhaul gets green light from London city council

She said the current replacement plan is meant to stagger construction with other upcoming projects in the area in order to ease traffic impact, but adopting a new plan may affect that co-ordination.

“It’s just a matter of getting all our projects in a row and preparing as best we can to serve Londoners. We want to show that we’ve been accountable, that we took into consideration traffic flow. People hate detours, especially when they run over,” said Peloza.

“Whether it’s the summer or back-to-school time, we really need to plan these projects.”

The future of Victoria Bridge will be decided at full council Tuesday.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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