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MUHC train bridge
Doubts raised over winning bidder
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 3 mai 2012

Photo: Marie Cicchini

The train bridge over Décarie and Upper Lachine will be demolished once the tracks are moved on the week-end of May 5-6.

In the latest developments concerning the construction of a train bridge over Décarie and Upper Lachine, Projet Montreal councillor Peter McQueen finds the lowest bid problematic and is sounding the alarm. Montreal is poised to award the contract at its May council meeting.

The lowest tender was submitted by Louisbourg SBC, S.E.C., located at 4125 Laurentian Autoroute in Laval, which came in at $12.6 million.

According to the city, the Lot C contract covers the demolition of the existing bridge and the construction of a new one. It includes $800,000 for sewer work, aqueducts and other urban infrastructure located directly underneath the train bridge.

9122-2497 Québec Inc. (A.C. Construction Démolition) located in Trois Rivières came in second with a $13M bid, followed by Les Grands Travaux Soter Inc from Laval at $13.3M, and Construction Garnier Ltée (Joe Borsellino) from Laval at $14.3M.

Project Montreal councillor Peter McQueen attended the public tender meeting and expressed various concerns in a telephone interview. “The lowest bidder, unless disqualified, is Louisbourg Construction, and you know what happened to Tony Accurso on Apr. 17,” he said in a subsequent email.

Antonio Accurso was one of 14 people arrested in UPAC’s Operation Gravier on Apr.17 following years of investigation by Operation Marteau. He is facing six criminal charges related to fraud, conspiracy and brivery in the construction industry.

“In fact, Louisbourg SBC, S.E.C. is a company administered by James Accurso and Guillaume Rochon,” replied Philippe Sabourin from the City of Montreal’s media relations in a phone interview.

A search of the online Quebec business registry was not helpful, but whether or not Antonio Accurso is also owner or shareholder in that company, the contract must be awarded to the lowest compliant bidder.

This information is to be verified in due time. Sabourin explained that in a state of law, what prevails at this stage is that, regardless of which Accurso owns the company, Tony Accurso still holds a valid construction licence and cannot be disqualified until a trial finds him guilty.

“In the worst-case scenario, we have a 10% security from a bank or insurance company. Another company will finish the construction project as per the city’s requirements on time,” he added.

McQueen pointed out that the contract failed on a crucial point. “One important anti-collusion measure adopted by the Tremblay administration in 2010 was to always break contracts into as many smaller contracts as reasonably possible in order to get better prices from more (smaller) competitors,” he said.

“It includes the demolition of the train bypass landfill construction […] (and no mention of a bike bridge). That this is included in the same contract we find very problematic because there is no consensus in NDG about closing Upper Lachine, and no consensus about getting that bike bridge built,” he added.

Sabourin replied that the Lot C contract could not be broken up further. “Keeping the contract with the same company means increased efficiency. The law requires that only one entrepreneur be the project manager on a construction site. A lot of work is carried out at the same time at the same place. Also, the train bridge is a complex civil engineering structure. Should a problem arise with this structure, there are guarantees attached, but authorities must be able to determine who is responsible for it.”

Building a light bridge for bicycles or pedestrians can be considered at the planning stage for public space scheduled for 2013-2014. “It happens to be the most expensive of the solutions we looked at, but the city is still considering all the options. Everyone is aware we need to extend the bikeway network in the MUHC superhospital area and make it safer.”

So far, all the work around the MUHC superhospital is on track and progressing well, indicating that it will meet the opening date scheduled for May 2014. The tracks will be moved next weekend.

[ Marie Cicchini ]

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