A B.C. government watchdog group is crying foul over the construction costs of the Port Mann Bridge.
Dermod Travis with Integrity BC says the construction of the bridge, interchanges, and overpasses have resulted in nearly $423-million dollars in overruns.
“This consistent phrase that the government uses of ‘on time and on budget’ needs to be replaced by ‘behind schedule and over budget’.”
The project was supposed to be a fixed-price contract at $3.3-billion dollars and has been fraught with issues surrounding tolling, ice bombs, and not getting enough driver traffic to pay for the costs.
“It will not be a bridge that will ever break even, and it is entirely inappropriate to put the same people in charge of this fiasco, in charge of the Massey Tunnel replacement project.”
Travis says the province needs to develop a new way to do public infrastructure procurement, claiming the way it’s being done now is not working.
He drew comparisons of the Port Mann Bridge construction to the BC Place renovations, which were originally billed to be $365-million but ended up costing over half a billion dollars.
Greg Johnson with T.I. Corp, however, says the group’s claims couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Higher costs in some areas were offset by savings in others, so that means the project’s final costs remain unchanged at $3.3-billion dollars, just like it was announced. This project is going to be wrapped in the coming months, and it’s going to be within the announced budget of $3.3 billion dollars.”
He says they’ve had to pay higher costs in some areas of the construction like the Cape Horn interchange in Coquitlam, but adds costs are always offset by savings in other areas.
Johnson says they are on track to repay the entire project by 2050.