The Ontario government is choosing to attempt to salvage Herb Gray Parkway girders after a report indicates 500 of the support beams do not meet certain codes and standards.

The document, written by the Independent Expert Review Committee, was released on Wednesday morning.

“The IER Committee is unanimous that, unless there is a satisfactory remediation protocol, it is an irresistible conclusion that the 500 girders fabricated by Freyssinet are not acceptable for use in the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway,” the report said.

“Based on the information received so far, it is the opinion of the IER Committee that the girders do not meet the requirements of the applicable regulations, codes and standards.With various violations in the design and construction requirements and the uncertainties in the construction of these girders, the IER cannot unequivocally opine that the girders are safe and durable. In fact, there is evidence that safety and durability of the girders have been compromised.”

The report deals with the 500 girders by Freyssinet Canada Ltd. Out of those 500 girders, 288 have already been installed, with 160 having concrete deck poured on top. There is a supplementary report coming out dealing with girders from Prestressed Systems Inc.

The document lists two options for the province – to replace the girders with new ones or a seven-point plan to salvage the existing girders. Murray says they are going with the second option.

“In the seven-point plan there are a series of engineering measures that may involve the removal of some,” says Murray. “There is a very specific set of tests and engineering measures that will be implemented."

“Those are engineering decisions, not political decisions,” says Murray.

The IER Committee says it is mindful of the potential serious financial implications, time delays, and impacts associated with the issues under review.

Freyssinet general manager Franck Chavent tells CTV news that he has no comment and is unsure if the company will issue a statement at this time.

Mobility group disagrees with report

Officials from the Windsor Essex Mobility Group, which is responsible for designing, financing, constructing and maintaining the parkway, are standing behind the safety of the parkway.  

“The Windsor Essex Mobility Group disagrees with the content of the Interim Expert Review Committee (‘the Committee’) report,” said Cindy Prince, WEMG spokesperson, in a release. “But in the interests of getting this important project back online and our people back to work, consortium members have agreed in principle with the Government of Ontario to an additional set of measures concerning the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway.”

The mobility group says the firms involved in the project have become successful by delivering high-quality, safe projects all over the world and would never compromise safety.

“These girders will become the gold-standard in safety and durability under even the most extreme circumstances,” said Prince. “It is time to get back to work and we all look forward to that.”