Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site



Vector Technologies Ltd.

Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

No Charges Over Ontario Bridge Controversy

Thursday, September 13, 2018

More items for Program/Project Management
More items from North America

Comment | More

The investigation of an Ontario bridge replacement that ballooned to nearly twice its original projected cost has wrapped up with no indication of criminal wrongdoing.

The Burgoyne Bridge replacement, first proposed in 2010 at an estimated cost of $56 million, was substantially completed in 2017, but the price tag on the massive project swelled to $100 million by the time all was said and done. Local officials in St. Catharines, the city just northwest of Niagara Falls where the bridge lies, began calling for an investigation into the ballooning costs in 2016, and in June of that year hired an outside firm to conduct an audit of the project.

Burgoyne Bridge
Sean_Marshall, CC BY-NC 2.0, via Flickr

The Burgoyne Bridge replacement garnered awards for its design and construction: The 410-foot arch composed of tubular steel supports decks on either side via box girders. 

While the cost of the bridge was estimated at just under $60 million in 2012 when funds were allocated by the federal and local governments, it had risen to more than $90 million by the time contracts were awarded in 2014.

The possibility of criminal charges was raised when the independent audit turned up months of missing emails related to the project. Corrupted and missing emails from 2011 and 2012, a crucial period in the design of the steel tied-arch bridge, led some to question whether wrongdoing was being covered up.

The cost of the bridge became a political lightning rod, with a task force set up by the Niagara Regional Council investigating the role of city officials, and later regional officials, in the project and its associated cost overruns. (Some dubbed it the "Lotta-Coin Bridge.")

In April 2017, the Region appealed to the Canadian federal government for additional funds to help alleviate the $40 million in overruns; the feds had initially contributed about a third of the $59.5 million cost that was estimated when the Region and the City of St. Catharines approached the government about the project. (Ontario picked up a third of the bill as well, and the Niagara Region and St. Catharine’s together provided the final third.)

At that time, the federal government refused to contribute additional funds, noting that cost overruns were beyond the scope of its responsibility. The chairman of the Regional Council noted that the original funding request was made before many of the design and engineering studies could be completed, and that if the city and region had waited, a more complete picture of the cost of the job would have emerged before the parties committed funding.

A city official told the Niagara Falls Review at the time that federal funds had been available for a limited time, meant for shovel-ready projects, as an economic stimulus.

No Criminal Wrongdoing

The conclusion of the criminal investigation, which was undertaken by the Ontario Provincial Police and lasted 21 months, was announced Monday (Sept. 10).

“There is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing with respect to the project, or any of the other matters brought forward in the Deloitte Report or by Regional Councilors pertaining to procurement of conflicts of interest within the Niagara Region,” a press release said.

Burgoyne Bridge
Michael Pardo, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The 1,090-foot structure consists of seven spans and was engineered by Harbourside Engineering Consultants and Parsons.

The “Deloitte Report” is the independent audit that was called for in 2016; in spring 2017, some councilors called for a separate investigation into the audit itself, essentially an investigation into the investigation.

The Project

The Burgoyne Bridge replacement garnered awards for its design and construction: The 410-foot arch composed of tubular steel supports decks on either side via box girders. The 1,090-foot structure consists of seven spans and was engineered by Harbourside Engineering Consultants and Parsons with architect DTAH. Pomerleau Construction served as lead contractor, with Walters Inc. fabricating steel components and VSL International providing cables.

In 2017 it was honored by the Quebec Region of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction with two awards, taking the Outside of Quebec Bridge Projects and Jury Favourite Projects categories in the organization’s Design Awards for Excellence in Steel Construction awards. The project also received the 2017 Award of Excellence from Canadian Consulting Engineers


Tagged categories: Bridges; Funding; Government; Project Management

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.

SABRE Autonomous Solutions
Imagine being able to remove the operator from the blasting environment
This significantly reduces workers exposure to hazards like toxic dust, noise, and repetitive motion injuries.

SAFE Systems, Inc.
Enduroguard -
The Tough Cable
for a Tough Industry.
Reduce maintenance costs and down time, increase job site safety with Enduroguard Cable. Available exclusively from SAFE Systems. UL listed, flexible, abrasion resistant and cut resistant.

Industrial Vacuum Equipment Corp.
Hurricane Vacuums
& Dust Collectors
Vacuum and dust collector hose, filters and related accessories.

HoldTight Solutions Inc.
Clean surfaces simply don’t rust, and no other product cleans like HoldTight®102.
HoldTight®102 is a wet blasting additive that decreases the water’s surface tension, allowing it to get into the profile of the surface and remove ALL contamination, including salts, acids, abrasives, light oils, and greases. HoldTight®102 leaves behind no film and evaporates with the water, providing a surface that is thoroughly clean and ready for coating, rust-free for up to 72 hours.

Absolute Equipment/Grand Rental Station
We have Tier 4 Equipment including Air Compressors & Generators for Sale & Rent! Your job may now require Tier-4. or Call 412-931-6655.

Total Enclosure Sail System, Inc.
Environmental containment and weather protection system.
• The Sail System™ environmental containment and weather protection system is strong, durable, reusable, efficient and cost effective. Sail System™ provides class I containment for bridges, water towers, ground tanks, drydocks and more.

Premium products for your blasting needs
Ready to use steel grit abrasives developed specially for air blasting applications.

SEMicro Division, M.E. Taylor Engineering, Inc.
Stop Guessing the Classification Rating of Your Cross Hatch Adhesion Testing Results
SEMicro's newly-patented Adhesion Testing Analyzer takes the guesswork out of cross hatch tape adhesion testing standards such as ASTM D3359 and ISO 2409.

Jotun Paints Inc.
Jotun Jotachar 1709
Mesh-free passive fire protection epoxy designed to protect against hydrocarbon pool fire scenarios for up to four hours as defined in the ANSI/UL1709 standard.


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us