A TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES: PUMPCRETE BALANCES US AND CANADIAN CONTRACTS ON QUEENSTON-LEWISTON BRIDGE PROJECT
The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC), in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, is currently undertaking major upgrades to Highway 405, the infamous Queenston-Lewiston International Bridge, and the NFBC Queenston Plaza.
General contractor Rankin Construction, Inc., St. Catherines, Ontario is overseeing work on the entire Queenston-Lewiston Bridge Fifth Lane Project and is completing work to spec on the Canadian side. Rankin subcontracted the work on the US side to Oakgrove Construction, Elba, NY. The project requires 4000 cubic yards of concrete for the bridge deck, barrier walls, approaches and other parts of the project necessary to construct a more efficient and safe Queenston-Lewiston Bridge. Both Rankin and Oakgrove are using Pumpcrete Corp., Niagara Falls, Ontario to place the majority of the concrete on this project.
The bridge contract includes a complete redecking of the existing 1,600-foot long, four-lane bridge and the reconfiguration of the bridge cross-section to provide for a reversible fifth lane. The contract also includes a strengthening, seismic retrofit and upgrading of the bridge to meet current bridge code standards, together with a number of other improvements. The project also includes work on both US and Canadian plazas to improve traffic flow and maximize storage areas.
The overall project coordinator for Rankin is Bill Snow, P. Eng. Rankin Construction Engineer and on-site Project Manager is Craig Copping, P. Eng. The project coordinator for Oakgrove is Ken Rawe, Jr. P. E., Vice President. After only a month of layout and mobilization, Rankin and Oakgrove began site work in January of this year. According to Snow, Copping and Rawe, skilled employees and reliable subcontrators like Pumpcrete have been vital in keeping the job on track. They have had to deal with tight sight conditions, environmentally sensitive surroundings and work through the severe winter weather to maintain production and stay ahead of schedule.
“This project has an extremely aggressive schedule – we have an imposed deadline of Friday, November 18, 2005,” agreed Copping and Snow. “We expect to complete the project ahead of the required completion date.”
On the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge site, scheduling challenges aren’t the only concern. Contract design engineers had to first consider what affects the work would have on the stability and soundness of the existing bridge as the demolition and reconstruction progressed.
To complete the placement of a total 1063 cubic yards of concrete into the first half of bridge’s arch span, contract design engineers had to approve the maximum weight of two concrete pumps, their set up locations on the structure, and the location of their outriggers. On May 5, two of Pumpcrete’s KVM 52 boom pumps set up on opposite sides of the pour, one contracted by Oakgrove on the US side, the other representing Rankin on the Canadian side. The pumps truck-mounted four-section placing booms completed a 376 cubic yard pour, the largest and first of three separate pours for the arch section.
Crews from Pumpcrete, Rankin and Oakgrove were forced to coordinate for exact synchronization so that the pouring of the span loaded and deflected the bridge arch evenly from both the Canadian and US sides. To ensure equal weight distribution, the pumps were required to deploy their booms at the same time. Rankin and Oakgrove each took extra precautions by requesting their own back up pumps and back-up ready mix suppliers to guarantee an uninterrupted pour. Rankin utilized Canada Building Materials Co. (CBM), Toronto, Ontario, for ready mix supply, while Oakgrove contracted trucks and materials from LaFarge North America. CBM and LaFarge supplied a 50 MPa high performance concrete (HPC) mix from permanent plants near the site.
According to Copping and Snow, the back-up pumps were not used and they had no trouble with the concrete supply. The 52-meter pumps were called back to the site on May 17 and May 26 to complete 353 and 335 yard pours respectively to complete the arch span.
The project was slightly ahead of schedule at the halfway point. Crews reached a major milestone on June 29 when traffic was switched from the north side of the bridge to two lanes on the newly constructed south side of the bridge. The north side was taken out of service to start reconstruction of the other half. The owner had required that this stage be reached before the July 4th weekend.
Rankin and Oakgrove also utilized Pumpcrete to complete their respective approach span deck pours. Pumps completed the 275-cubic yard pour on the Canadian side and the 327-cubic yard pour in the US side in one day.
Copping and Snow share the same opinion of the pumping contractor. “We often use Pumpcrete. They’re reliable, well established and there are no second guesses when it comes to their equipment. Their flexibility with the requirements of this project was truly appreciated by all of the contractors involved.”