08 June 2012
The transport minister of Canada’s Northwest Territories has announced up to US$10 million in additional funding to ensure that Deh Cho Bridge is completed this year.
“The Deh Cho Bridge is a major piece of public infrastructure that will serve the people of the Northwest Territories for years to come,” said minister Dave Ramsay. “This government intends to finish the bridge and have it open to traffic this year.”
He said that contractor Ruskin Construction has made considerable progress in the last six months. It has erected the two pylons, strung all the supporting cables and installed a third of the deck panels. “Weather sensitive work has recently begun, including grouting of the deck panels, installation of the formwork for constructing curbs, and construction on the abutments. Work has continued safely and I am pleased with the quality of the work being undertaken. Even with this progress, though, it has become clear that we will need to do more to get the bridge opened this fall,” he said.
An independent engineering assessment has concluded that with additional resources the bridge can be completed this year. “To this end, the Department and Ruskin Construction have recently come to an agreement-in-principle that will help us meet this shared goal. The agreement identifies key milestones in the schedule and provides additional resources to meet our timelines.”
The agreement also sets out how additional costs will be shared by the two parties, with the GNWT’s share capped at just under CA$10 million (US$9.7 million). “The agreement also resolves all outstanding claims between Ruskin and the GNWT, which greatly reduces future financial uncertainty on the project,” said Ramsay.
“The Department and Ruskin will have to work hard to manage the project schedule risks that still remain,” he added. “Decisive action is necessary to help achieve our goal of opening the bridge to traffic this fall. We have put an arrangement in place that will provide the resources to meet this objective. I am confident that both parties are committed to the successful completion of this project and am sure that we will be able to meet the challenge together.
The cable-stayed bridge will span the Mackenzie River near Fort Providence. It will replace the operations of the Merv Hardie Ferry and the Mackenzie River Ice Crossing.
Infinity Engineering Group was given responsibility for the redesign of the Deh Cho Bridge when the original design was found to have components that did not meet bridge code standards. The redesign of the superstructure took six months and was completed in January 2010. The team focused on creating a robust, durable design with lower long-term maintenance costs over the 75-year design life of the bridge.