The 10-lane Port Mann bridge. (Transportation Investment Corp.)

Port Mann Bridge review points to B.C. government’s flaws in expertise, risk management

Report takes aim at how the $3.3 billion mega-project was handled

The B.C. government needs to fix how it manages risk, timelines and documents before it undertakes another mega-project like the Port Mann bridge, an independent report has found.

The 174-page report, commissioned last year from Perrin, Thorau and Associates by the province, outlined seven broad recommendations arising from replacing the 1964-built bridge with a new, 10-lane crossing to address substantial congestion problems.

The report took aim at the province’s inability to assemble the “people, business processes and information systems” required to undertake a project of this size.

The province couldn’t properly manage risks throughout the project, the report said, and had trouble estimating the schedule, progress payments and performance measures.

Changes to the way the project was managed didn’t undergo a “competitive pricing test” to ensure they were getting the best value, it added, though the province didn’t keep proper records to determine if there had been an attempt to secure lower pricing.

READ MORE: Port Mann, Golden Ears traffic up since tolls removed: report

The $3.37-billion cost was $48 million over from the initial approval of $3.32 billion in 2009, after a public-private partnership was nixed following the global recession the year before. The government chose to took on debt and fully fund the project.

The consultants were “surprised by the extent to which the province was unable to recover key documents” in relation to that decision.

As costs increased, the report found that the province needed a better way to distribute contingency funding and revise how it estimates price markups that happen when a contractor has to change parts of the project.

The first drivers to use the new Port Mann crossed in September 2012.

Tolls, which took effect the following December, were expected to raise $175 million each year, but by 2015-16, a report from the bridge’s operator, the Transportation Investment Corporation, showed an annual operating loss at more than $100 million per year.

The finance ministry recently responded that it had already implemented the recommendations on projects undertaken since the Port Mann.

It pointed to the Evergreen Line and upcoming Pattullo Bridge replacement as examples of where a “independent cost estimator” is on-site to ensure better costing out of major projects, and said it was undertaking a review of its record management system.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack to remember D-Day veterans on 76th anniversary of Normandy landing

Thousands died June 6, 1944, coming ashore on beaches in France while facing heavy German resistance

Road washout affecting section of Highway No. 3 near Manning Park

Road maintenance crews are on the scene, with an almost two kilometre long stretch impacted

YouTube video takes time-machine trip through downtown Chilliwack

Footage shot in 1958 shows a car cruising through the Five Corners area.

Column: Patience and persistence required with green technology

Solar panels and wind farms aren’t yet where we need them to be, but does that mean we give up?

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Human Rights Tribunal denies church’s request to toss out White Rock Pride Society’s complaint

Star of the Sea and White Rock Pride Society to go to Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Abbotsford’s UFV gym now without a sponsor

Partnership with Envision Financial ends, school seeking new organizations to partner with

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Most Read