London city council greenlights Victoria Bridge replacement with historical arched design
London city council has decided to go ahead with the proposed Victoria Bridge replacement.
Construction on the $14-million plan, which includes a historically significant arched design, will begin in 2022.
Some members of council had suggested looking into a more cost-effective design, which would have reportedly saved a little more than $2 million, however council voted 9-4 against looking for a cheaper design.
“Sometimes, our delays cost more than the intention,” said Ward 11 Coun. Stephen Turner.
“The cost that would be saved as proposed here is, rather, a marginal cost. A bridge’s life is amortized over about 50 years, I believe, so its asset life, if you’re talking $1 million, is about $20,000 a year,” he added.
“It’s not significant costs savings. Plus, we’re looking at over $100,000 just in the short term to keep this bridge operational.”
Ward 12 Coun. Elizabeth Peloza also worried about the financial and physical impacts the delays would have if council were to scrap the proposed replacement and find a new design.
“We’re talking about safety and active transportation delays we’re doing as well with the bridge when it gets built,” she said.
“We’re looking at impeding traffic into our core as we talk about helping people to get downtown easier. This is going to interfere with that.”
There was also concern that delaying the replacement would interfere with other construction projects in the area.
“This is an area in the city where we have Wharncliffe Road under construction and work coming up on that bridge there,” said Ward 4 Coun. Jesse Helmer.
“We have Victoria Bridge, which needs to be replaced. We have bus rapid transit up and down Wellington Road and across that bridge,” he said.
“We just physically cannot do all of those things at the same time, and we need to be very cautious about the phasing of those things so the disruption is minimized.”
Replacing the 93-year-old bridge will require a full closure of Ridout Street south of Horton Street.
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