Whitehorse Daily Star

Nisutlin bridge cost raised in legislature

The cost of the Nisutlin Bay Bridge replacement project was once again a contentious topic Nov. 9 in the Yukon legislature.

By T.S. Giilck on November 27, 2023

The cost of the Nisutlin Bay Bridge replacement project was once again a contentious topic Nov. 9 in the Yukon legislature.

As he did on Nov. 7, Yukon Party MLA Stacey Hassard interrogated the government on what he alleges is the escalating cost of the bridge replacement – which has been called the largest and most costly capital project in territorial history.

During question period, he said the party has information suggesting the cost of the project has ballooned to $207 million from the original estimate of $160 million. However, he didn’t say how he’d acquired that information.

After question period, Tim Kucharuk, a communications person for the Yukon Party, was asked about that number and its source.

“It’s just something we heard somewhere,” he said.

Highways and Public Works Minister Nils Clarke didn’t offer to answer Hassard’s question directly, as he also did the previous Tuesday.

Clarke called the discussion “a great opportunity to provide an update on this project.

“As of Oct. 24, the following work has been completed by the contractor: site mobilization and permanent pilings for the north and south abutments; the south abutment, along with its seat, back wall, and wing walls; the south embankment has been built up to subgrade level; rip-rap has been placed on the north-facing slope of the south abutment; at pier 2, all eight permanent piles are complete with concrete infill; at pier 3, all eight permanent piles are complete with concrete infill and pile cap that has been cast; piles at the north abutment are complete with concrete infill; the north embankment has been constructed up to the bottom of the abutment seat; the installation of cofferdams for piers 2 and 3 are complete; the insulation of the cofferdam for pier 4 is ongoing; and clearing and grubbing for the new road on the south side is complete as well.”

Nowhere to be found in Clarke’s answer was how much the cost has increased, Hassard noted.

“When we asked about this on March 9 of this year, the minister admitted that there were cost increases but suggested that the department was able to manage those increases within the department’s overall capital budget, but that doesn’t answer the question that I asked.

“The contract that was awarded for this job was approximately $160 million. We know that the project is going to come in higher than that so, again, what is the total project cost for this project?”

The only definitive thing Clarke offered was “all indications are that this project will be completed by September 2026.”

Comments (2)

Up 0 Down 0

Treetop on Nov 30, 2023 at 4:04 pm

Waste of money

Up 0 Down 0

BIG DADDY on Nov 27, 2023 at 4:59 pm

Now surely you peons know that you don't really need to know all the little details of these weighty matters! Isn't that why you elected us in the first place? Just keep paying your tiny taxes and we make sure you have massive projects to admire.

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