Provincial government slashes $8 million in road repair bonuses following Auditor General’s report

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Ontario is cutting $8 million in bonuses for contractors following an Auditor General report.

The provincial government will stop giving highway contractors certain bonuses for asphalt quality after the auditor general reported some were tampering with samples.

This change is one of several dozen items the government says it will address in a new Action Plan for Highway Construction Contracts and Oversight.

In her annual report last year, the Auditor General said the government hasn’t been overseeing road contractors properly, noting that pavement on some Ontario roads and highways that is supposed to last 10 to 15 years starts to crack after just two or three.

She also found that the ministry was paying $8 million in bonuses each year to contractors who provide the quality of asphalt required in their contract, and bonuses even went to contractors who tampered with their asphalt samples just to get them.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca says the action plan measures will be implemented this construction season to ensure “Ontario’s highway network can withstand regular use and our harsh climate.”

CBC reports that he also says Ontario will also be conducting more inspections, requiring suppliers to certify that they are providing high quality asphalt cement and creating an expert panel to advise the ministry on contract provisions.

Earlier, the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) said that the Auditor General was correct in “in concluding that the third-generation area maintenance contracts have serious flaws.”

In its statement, ORBA said:

That’s why for the past several years ORBA has also raised concerns about this system. Last winter, ORBA began to work in co-operation with the Government of Ontario toward a solution.

We applaud Minister Del Duca’s decisive response to this report and look forward to continuing to work with the government to create a more effective winter road maintenance system.

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