(UPDATED) Audit on Johnson Street Bridge project shelved

Johnson Street Bridge

An audit that would have given Victoria taxpayers answers as to why the Johnson Street Bridge Replacement Project opened almost 3 years behind schedule, and way over budget, has been called off.

The Acting Auditor General for Local Government, Mike Furey, says COVID-19 travel restrictions and the impending closure of his office in the New Year made the decision necessary:

" And so we weren't able to complete the audit in our normal approach. And our office is also closing in 2021, and given the travel restictions in place we are not able to complete it before our closure. So I made the decision to not complete the audit."

The NDP government cut funding to the municipal watchdog in its February budget, and announced  the office would be phased out.

Mayor Lisa Helps called for the audit after the bridge, originally scheduled to open Sept. 30, 2015 -- finally opened at the end of March 2018.

By then the cost had ballooned from an estimated $63-Million to over $105-Million.