The Airport Parkway pedestrian and cycling bridge.
Errol McGihon / Postmedia
The legal bickering over the bungled construction of the Airport Parkway pedestrian and cycling bridge has finally ended.The bridge, whose landmark feature is a curving concrete tower with the City of Ottawa logo punched out, was over-budget, completed late and a municipal embarrassment.Today, the crossing over the parkway is a well-used connection between the Hunt Club community and South Keys, but when it was under construction for more than three years, it was a glaring symbol of project mismanagement on a gateway corridor that leads visitors from the international airport to Ottawa’s core.The project cost went from about $6.5 million to $11 million because of deficiencies and delays. It resulted in design reviews by outside consultants and internal reviews at city hall.Contractors sued each other and in June 2014 the city joined the legal fracas in attempt to recoup taxpayers’ money, suing designer WSP (formerly Genivar) for $4.6 million.Deputy city solicitor David White confirmed Thursday that the city had reached a settlement with Louis Bray Construction in February before the other parties involved in litigation resolved their legal cases in March.White said the city reached a settlement with WSP in 2017.He said details of the city’s settlements with the companies are confidential.
Hundreds of people cross the newly opened Airport Parkway Pedestrian Bridge on Nov. 29, 2014.
David Kawai /
Bridge construction started in June 2011 and the crossing was scheduled to open that fall. However, there were problems with the concrete. That led to demolition and reconstruction of the tower.Then there was a problem with the fabrication of the steel anchor on the tower, followed by a realization that the bridge design wouldn’t actually work, leading to the firing of the designer, adding more than a year to construction.The bridge opened to the public on Nov. 29, 2014.River Coun. Riley Brockington said the botched project is still a burning topic in his community, even though the bridge is working well and has created an important link between neighbourhoods, public transit and the South Keys shopping area.“When I was first campaigning in 2014, many people in the Hunt Club community were still raw from the experience of three attempts to build the bridge and the added expense to taxpayers to build it,” Brockington said.After he was elected, Brockington’s first meeting with the city manager at the time, Kent Kirkpatrick, was about the bridge.“I had one item on the agenda: ‘Explain to me how this mess happened,’ ” Brockington said he told Kirkpatrick.“At the end of the day I was really focusing on two things. What did we learn from this, because there was definitely a breakdown in project management oversight, and he acknowledged that and explained to me how the city improved in that regard. The second thing was, how do we get back as much taxpayer money as possible?”Brockington said it’s his understanding that city was able to recoup millions of dollars through the litigation.The time finally might be right to name the bridge.The city had no interest in a naming exercise during the legal fights, but Brockington said a process could be launched during the term of email@example.com/JonathanWilling