Bermingham takes on a dynamic project to show what they can do

By Kelly Gray

One of Canada’s oldest foundation specialists is helping Parks Canada turn the page on troubles with its historic Trent Severn Waterway. 

When the Canadian federal government needed to repair Dam #37 at Bolsover near Lake Simcoe, they turned to Bermingham Foundation Solutions for the initial stages that would allow for the demolition of the dam and reconstruction. Working with general contractor Metric Contracting, shoring designer Isherwood Geostructural Engineers, contract administrator EXP and Public Works Canada, Bermingham crews would have to dewater the area immediately adjacent to the existing lock and dam and pro- vide a temporary diversion. This is all in a day’s work for a company that has been putting Canada on solid ground since 1897.

The Trent Severn Waterway is a hard-won piece of Canadian history with politicians and business interests fighting it out section by section. Joining Lake Huron with Lake Ontario, the 386-kilometre canal system was started in the early part of the 19th century and slowly completed over 100 years, at which time it was quickly made redundant by the completion of the larger Welland Canal. Today, the system is operated by Parks Canada as a tourist destination that brings boat traffic to cottage country through the locks between May and October. Last year, there was close to 100,000 lock operations. [VIEW PHOTO GALLERY]

With this traffic comes responsibility for upkeep and repair. The Bolsover lock #37 and dam at kilometre 284.9 was built in 1903 and had been showing considerable signs of its age. In 2013, the federal government announced a total expenditure of more than $24 million for the full replacement project at Bolsover, Ont.

According to Brian Abele, senior project manager at Bermingham Foundation Solutions, on-site construction of the Bolsover Dam, including the installation and removal of a water diversion and cofferdam system, began in the winter of 2013 and will last for approximately two years, over which time the lock facility will continue to remain operational.

“The project objective for Bermingham was to install a combi-wall/secant wall with various steel sheet pile walls to provide a temporary shoring system to dewater the area around the existing dam,” he said, reporting further that the shoring system was installed to allow Metric Contracting the ability to proceed with the main part of the project: the dam removal and replacement. To get this done, Bermingham constructed a double wall steel sheet pile diversion channel of 500 feet with an adjustable inlet structure and two drop structures to dissipate energy and reduce flow velocity.

“This allows for base flow and storm surge during the period the existing dam was being demolished and reconstructed,” said Abele, adding that stop logs were also used in the inlet structure to allow for volumetric control of bypass channel. Overall, Bermingham drove over 1,100 steel sheet piles for a total length of over 23,000 meters.  [VIEW PHOTO GALLERY]


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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.