Consortium behind Champlain Bridge replacement suing feds for $124 million

Replacement Champlain Bridge could be delayed

MONTREAL — The consortium behind the construction of the new replacement for the aging Champlain Bridge has filed a $124 million lawsuit against the federal government and warns the new span might be delayed.

Signature on the Saint-Lawrence, made up of several companies including Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, filed the documents on Tuesday in Quebec Superior Court.

They state that only one year after signing an agreement in 2015 was the consortium informed of weight restrictions on the current Champlain Bridge and restricted access to provincial roads in and around the construction site.

The lawsuit states those rules have meant finding alternate transportation for pre-cast concrete and other structural elements, which have resulted in scheduling delays and substantial costs.

The allegations have not been tested in court.

The new bridge, with a price tag of $4.23 billion that includes the surrounding corridor, is slated to be ready for December 2018.

But the consortium suggested in its court filing that delays in getting important pieces to the site could mean delays in construction, and the consortium shouldn’t be held liable.

Last July, federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi told reporters in Montreal the construction work on the Champlain Bridge replacement project was on schedule and on budget.

The federally owned bridge, a six-kilometre span linking Montreal with its south shore that opened in 1962, is one of Canada’s busiest.

It has been deteriorating, leading the federal government to announce a replacement for the bridge in 2011.

The Canadian Press

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