Friday, August 10, 2007

Rapid Bridge Replacement

Talk on Ottawa radio and television today, is centered around some construction taking place in the Nation's capital this weekend. The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) is replacing a bridge on the 417 Queensway, and is attempting to use state of the art technology to complete this task in only 15 hours.

FIFTEEN HOURS, ten plus five, under two working days merged together... can you believe it?

Apparently this type of bridge replacement is the first of it's kind in Canada. According to various news sources, the actual replacement bridge is being built off-site and... starting tomorrow at 8:00 pm, the 417 East and West will be shutdown, the old bridge will be cut out, the new bridge will be dropped into it's hole, secured into place... all before 12 noon on Sunday.


The project management team, Mammoet, will use heavy lift rapid replacement technology to do the work. This piece of technology will allow work, that would normally required two years, to be completed in under 2 regular working days.

Perhaps this is not as exciting to you, but being the daughter of a man who oversaw road and bridge work for the majority of his career, I am rather intrigued with the entire process.

I am pretty sure when Timbo gets the low-down on this, he'll probably need a stiff drink! Seriously... if technology of this kind was available and affordable 25 years ago, my Dad may have been available to attend a few more of my baseball games and figure skating lessons!! AND, had this technology been used in Northern Ontario, we might not have had to take our summer vacations in places like Wawa, Hornepayne, or Marathon!!!

On the other hand, we might also have been in the poor house, as it appears that technology like this is eliminating the need for human resources, and if his pay cheque was only worth 2 days of work, instead of 2 years... I am pretty sure I wouldn't have been wearing Beaver Canoe jogging suits and Nike Air's the majority of my young life!

The cool thing about the whole project, is that the MTO has setup a webcam so that interested parties can view the bridge replacement project from the comfort of their own home. They have even setup bleachers in the Island Park area as they are expecting thousands of nosey citizens to be live on the scene to watch the all of the action.

I personally won't be vying for a seat on bleacher's, but I will probably check out the webcam a few times just to see if this project really goes off without a hitch! The interesting part will be if something does go wrong, the 417 is the major road artery for all of Ottawa, so... if the project takes longer than expected, head's will roll somewhere, as this road closure will create numerous headaches if the project carries over to Monday morning.

Here's hoping all goes smoothly for everyone invovled. I guess we will have to wait and see how it all unfolds....