All Herb Gray Parkway girders by Freyssinet to be replaced

CBC News

All the Herb Gray Parkway girders “in question” will be replaced.

Liberal MPP Teresa Piruzza broke the news in a media release sent at 1 p.m. Friday.

At about the same time, a statement on the Herb Gray Parkway website confirmed the news.

“Parkway Infrastructure Constructors (PIC), the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway (the ‘Parkway’) has advised the Windsor Essex Mobility Group (WEMG) and the Government of Ontario that it has rejected all of the girders manufactured by Freyssinet for use in the Parkway, and will be replacing those girders at no expense to the Province,” the statement said.

More than 300 substandard girders were built by Freyssinet and installed. Hundreds more were built but not installed.

The hundreds of girders were not built to code.

According to PIC, the decision to remove the girders was not because the manufacturers used tack welding. Rather, there was a discrepancy between documentation used for quality control and what was found during testing of the girders.

At a news conference Friday, it was revealed that when inspectors tore apart girders, they found reinforcement steel that was not in shop drawings.

Eight girders built by Windsor’s Prestressed Systems Inc. and used in the North Talbot Bridge also coming out. Officials said they are removing them because they would have to take two out for testing. With the cost of that and the delays expected, officials felt they would just replace all eight.

Replacement of the girders is expected to be less than one year long.

“It is unfortunate that the issue with respect to the girders occurred. However, the premier, minister of transportation and I have been clear – public safety is paramount. It is also critical to keep the community informed and ensure confidence in the project,” Piruzza said in a media release. “I am pleased that Windsor Essex Mobility Group (WEMG) and Parkway Infrastructure Constructors (PIC) have decided to replace all the girders in question with new ones that will be built to code. This decision is a result of the testing process that was agreed to between WEMG and Ministry of Transportation.”