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Alleged 'defective work' on Granville Street Bridge 'does not pose an immediate risk to the public,' Vancouver says

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The City of Vancouver is trying to reassure the public that the Granville Street Bridge is safe, despite recently filing a lawsuit against a trio of contractors that suggests the opposite.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the city acknowledged that its court filing describes alleged defects in work that was done on the bridge as posing a "real and substantial danger" to the public.

"Without context," that phrase has raised concerns, the city said.

"This language is a legal requirement for the claim," the statement reads. "The defective work outlined in the civil claim does not pose an immediate risk to the public."

That work, according to the city's claim, took place from 2019 to 2021 and involved replacing expansion joints connecting various segments of the bridge, as well as the installation of rubber troughs underneath those joints to manage water runoff.

The city is alleging that three companies – Associated Engineering (B.C.) Ltd., which designed the project, Graham Infrastructure LP, which completed the work, and Ross Rex Industrial Painters Ltd., which was a subcontractor responsible for painting and recoating work – breached their contracts and were negligent in the completion of the project.

The city's allegations have not been proven in court, and the defendants have not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

Specifically, the city alleges that the companies failed to complete all of the resealing work that was required, including "omitting the application of caulking." They also allegedly installed expansion joints that allow for "unintended ingress" of water and associated debris and installed rubber troughs that don't function as intended.

The end result – according to the city's civil claim – is that water, debris and chemicals such as road salt have caused and continue to cause corrosion and degradation to the bridge structure, which is the source of the aforementioned "real and substantial danger."

In its statement Tuesday, the city said public safety is its "highest priority" and that the bridge "does not pose any structural safety risks to the public," despite the language in the lawsuit.

It also noted that the work in question is not related to ongoing construction projects involving the bridge, including the Granville Connector project, which involves the deconstruction of the ramps on the north side of the bridge and the addition of infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the span.

The Granville Street Bridge was constructed in 1954 and is regularly inspected and repaired to ensure public safety, the city said. 

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