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City files $4.6-million dollar claim over Airport Parkway bridge

The move came after a 90 minute closed door session with councillors on the finance committee and city legal staff.

The city filed the claim against WSP Canada, formerly known as Genivar, which originally designed the bridge. The city fired the company last fall.

The amount is what it's going to cost to finish the structure, and is on top of the original price tag of $6.9 million.

"In my view, the primary responsibility for the failure to date on this project was the fact that the design engineers designed a bridge that in the end couldn't be built," said city manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

A scathing third-party report concluded there were problems with the project from the beginning, including an unrealistic timeline of just four months to complete the structure by October, 2011.

The report also said city hall staff were to blame for some of the project's failings.

Mayor Jim Watson revealed on Tuesday that no one on the city payroll will lose their jobs. Disciplinary action handed out includes letters on employee's files and suspension without pay, but he refused to say how many employees or whether they are senior managers.

Staff will be subjected to more regular meetings, in addition to training sessions in a bid to prevent similar failures, and Watson insisted lessons have been learned.

"There has to be greater communication up the channels and that was one of the flaws we foiund in the process. It was being led by Councillor McRae and myself and others who would go by and see no acitivity on the bridge and yet that information didn't seem to go up the chain of command," he told reporters. "We have to have a better early detection system so that these kinds of projects, if they're starting to go off the rails, can be pulled back so we don't have to go and sue a contractor in the future."

The city will hire outside lawyers to fight the case, and may seek costs if successful in court.

Delcan has been tapped to finish the structure, and some changes have been made, including replacing the concrete deck or base with a steel one. City staff have said the bridge will be open by the end of the year.

is gearing up for a multi-million dollar legal showdown over the bungled Airport Parkway pedestrian and cycling bridge.

Mayor Jim Watson says the City has started proceedings to try and recoup $4.6-million from WSP Canada Inc, the company that designed the bridge and was formally known as Genivar.

That's the amount of the cost overrun above the original price tag for the project.

The announcement came after councillors and legal staff huddled behind closed doors for 90 minutes.

A scathing third party report concluded the project was a mess from the get go.

The City fired Genivar in the fall.

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