Government cancels Teslin bridge upgrades

A project to revitalize the Nisutlin Bay Bridge in Teslin has been cancelled.

A project to revitalize the Nisutlin Bay Bridge in Teslin has been cancelled.

“Yukon government received sufficient concern from the community of Teslin that we cancelled the Nisutlin Bay Bridge project at this time,” said Kendra Black, spokesperson for Highways and Public Works.

The plan was to replace the steel grating deck with concrete, construct a separated bike lane and walkway.

She wouldn’t say what the nature of the concerns were.

Forty individuals had signed up to receive updates on the tender for the project, which had been set to close April 23, said Black, but not all of them were contractors.

All of those interested parties were informed of the cancelation on Friday, she said. A mandatory site visit for bidding contractors, scheduled for Monday, was also cancelled.

The $14.5 million project would have been paid for jointly by the federal and territorial governments. But because of the cancellation, the $6.75 million in federal money earmarked for the project will no longer be available to it.

That’s because projects funded under the Building Canada Fund must be completed by March 31, 2016. In order to meet that deadline, the contract for the two-year bridge rehabilitation project would have had to be awarded in the next few weeks, said Black.

Public Works will try and find other projects that meet the criteria for using that money, she said. And it will work to secure funding for the Nisutlin Bay Bridge project in the next iteration of the federal infrastructure funding.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to access that funding,” said Black.

Frank Thomas, CAO for the Village of Teslin, also wouldn’t get into specifics of the community’s concerns with the project.

But the bridge is very important to the community, and impacts of any work on it could be significant, he said.

“Our bridge in the community is a fairly active place. We have a marina there. A lot of people use it. It’s not like a bridge on the Yukon River or something where mostly people just use it to cross the river. It’s right

in our community.”

The community had lots of questions about the project, and there wasn’t enough time for all of those questions to be answered, he said.

“There wasn’t enough lead-time on this thing, and the government maybe didn’t realize what impacts it might impose on the community,” said Thomas.

“It’s probably, at the end of the day, a good thing,” he said, because now there is more time to make sure that the project reflects the needs of the community.

It will “create a better project at the end if we do it jointly,” said Thomas.

“The tender was stopped, but it doesn’t mean the job is not going to continue in the future. They still have to fix the bridge.

“The bridge ain’t going to fall apart. It’s been there for a long time, so I imagine it’ll hang out for a few more years yet.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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