Canadian Consulting Engineer

Up Front

February 1, 2012
By Canadian Consulting Engineer



Riding high in Laval

The city of Laval near Montreal is studying a different way to beat traffic gridlock — constructing an aerial tramway to ride over city streets. The transportation department (STL) is commissioning consultants to do a feasibility study for a line north from the Montmorency metro station to the Carrefour bus station — a distance of approximately four miles.

Aerial cable cars can be constructed quickly and at a fraction of the price of other rail transit. When he announced the study, the mayor of Laval cited $20 to $25 million per kilometre compared to $200 million per kilometre for a metro.

The systems the city is looking at would be electric and would carry 14 passengers at speeds up to 45 kilometres an hour. They could be run in winds up to 100-km/hour.

Cities around the world that have installed aerial tramways include New York, Singapore and Medellin in Colombia. One is also under construction over the River Thames in London, U.K.


$2-billion expansion at

Calgary International

Calgary International Airport is undergoing a 2-billion expansion, including a new terminal, tunnel and runway.

At 4,270 metres, the new runway will be the longest commercial runway in Canada when it is completed in May 2014. It will be 200 feet wide and capable of handling the world’s biggest aircraft. Concrete surfacing on the runway starts this spring, and work is under way already on the utilities. These include 60 kilometres of storm lines and sub-drains, and over 500 kilometres of cabling.

Associated Engineering and CH2M HILL are the design consulting engineers for the runway, with Hatch Mott MacDonald as subconsultant. AECOM is overall project manager of the entire expansion.

The new five-level, 183,500-sq.m concourse, the “International Facilities Project,” will have 22 gates and is scheduled to open in 2015.

Excavation has begun and drilling is proceeding for 600 geothermal wells that will provide heating and cooling to the building.

Prime consultant on the terminal facility is DIALOG, with RJC as structural engineers, AECOM as mechanical-electrical engineers, and Hatch Mott MacDonald as civil engineers. Other consultants include: D.A. Watt (transportation), URS (baggage), Transsolar (sustainability), FFA (acoustics), Thurber (geotechnical), and Building Envelope Engineers.

The airport is Canada’s fourth busiest and handled 12.7 million passengers in 2011. It has more than doubled in size and passenger volume over the last 15 years.


Champlain Bridge

replacement moves ahead

The federal government has launched the environmental assessment for a new bridge to replace the 6-kilometre Champlain Bridge across the St. Lawrence River in Montreal.

The existing steel truss cantilever bridge dates from 1962 and has been plagued by troubles. Over $200 million was devoted to repairs in 2009 and work is ongoing.

The bridge connects the Island of Montreal to the South S hore and is one of the busiest crossings in Canada, carrying 49 million vehicles every year.

A study published in 2011 by Delcan found several problems including deterioration and sub-par seismic design. A few months later, a study by BPR/CIMA+, Dessau and Egis looked at possible replacements and recommended that a new crossing be made downstream of the existing one.

Transport Canada issued a request for proposals on MERX on January 24 seeking a firm to carry out the technical environmental assessments and screening. The project includes not just the new crossing and demolition of the existing bridge, but also a new bridge on Nuns’ Island and reconstruction of a section of Autoroute 15.


GENIVAR goes to Colombia

Genivar of Montreal acquired an engineering firm of 340 people based in Bogotá, Colombia in January. Active in civil engineering, environment, energy and telecommunications, CRA (Consultores Regionales Asociados) was formed in 1976 and has additional offices in Medellin and Barranquilla.


Hope for Port Hope

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources recently committed $1.28 billion over 10 years for the long-awaited project to clean up low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope and Port Granby, two small towns east of Toronto on Lake Ontario.

The radioactive waste has a long history, resulting from the refining of radium and uranium by Eldorado Nuclear Limited between the 1930s until 1988. The clean-up plans involve encapsulating the waste above ground in long-term waste management facilities. Each site will have a wastewater treatment plant and other infrastructure.

AECOM is the consulting engineer for the waste management facilities at the Port Granby site, while MMM Group and Conestoga-Rovers are the consultants at the Port Hope site.


Mind the gap

Two representatives of the U.S. company that owns the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor spent a day in jail in January. They were convicted for failing to complete access routes from the bridge to interstate highways, leaving a 20-metre yawning gap between the bridge and a road structure.


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