Canadian Consulting Engineer

Feature

Up Front (news)

TRANSPORTATION


TRANSPORTATION

Stranderd-Armstrong Bridge opens

A new bridge across the Rideau River in the south end of Ottawa was being hailed as a landmark at its opening on July 12.

Delcan, now Parsons, designed the bridge, while Harbourside Engineering Consultants of Charlottetown, P.E.I. were engineers for the contractor, Horseshoe Hill Construction. Harbourside did the conceptual, preliminary and detailed construction and erection engineering.

Erecting the bridge was complicated. The Rideau River is a designated UNESCO world heritage site, which meant the construction’s environmental impact had to be strictly controlled. The navigation channel also had to remain open from May to October, during which no overhead work could take place from Friday to Monday.

Since traditional construction methods were not possible, Harbourside designed an innovative erection method which allowed 90% of the steel superstructure to be erected on temporary supports on the east approach. The structure was then launched into place across the river.

COMMUNICATIONS

PanAm Games hungry for bandwidth

The organizing committee of Toronto’s 2015 PanAm and ParaPan games reported in July that construction is “hitting the home stretch.” The TO2015 Committee said that overall the venues are under budget and most will be completed this fall.

Meanwhile, a vast communications network is being set up to connect the venues, which are spread out over the Golden Horseshoe, from Hamilton and Welland in the southwest, to Oshawa in the east, and north to cottage country. The network links not just competition venues, but also facilities such as the Games’ main operations centre, the technology operations centre, and Pearson International Airport.

Jeff Seifert, chief technology officer with Cisco, which in combination with other sponsors is providing the communications technology for the Toronto Games, says the infrastructure has to cover an area with a radius of about 200 kilometres. This is much larger than the 20-kilometre radius for the Commonwealth Games heldthis summer in Glasgow.

The infrastructure must carry an enormous stream of data for a host of systems: competition scoring and timing systems, high-definition television broadcasting, two-way immersive teleconferencing, and data such as security information for 20,000 volunteers.

“Where the bandwidth really becomes hungry,” says Seifert, “is in the combination of spectators and the media — not just broadcasting, but also photographers with their digital cameras firing off thousands of pictures.” In a stadium of 15,000 to 20,000 people, about half the spectators could be on the internet through their mobile devices at any one time.

Dedicated fibre optic cabling, or “Dark Fiber,” will stream 10 gigabytes per second over the network. The data will be processed in two data centres that are geographically separated, as well as in the Cloud. Today the technology is so miniaturized says Seifert, “What 10 years ago used to take up 1,500 square feet of space in a data centre, can now fit in one cabinet.

“The building systems, whether it be lighting, security, a badge reader, the CCTV video surveillance — all these are going on the internet protocol and on the same network. So [the challenge is] how you keep all these things on the one network very reliable and also very secure.”

Another issue is overcoming wireless radio transmission difficulties in stadiums with heavy concrete structures and large masses of people. “People are mostly made of water, which, like concrete can absorb a lot of radio wave,” says Seifert. “So large sporting events and venues necessitate a specialized kind of skill set that is a crossover of technology engineering and understanding structural engineering.”

NATURAL RESOURCES

First Nations ruling could scuttle resource projects

The Fraser Institute of Vancouver issued a scathing response to the Supreme Court ruling related to Tsilhqot’in Nation at the end of June. That ruling gave the First Nation title to 1,700 square kilometres of land in the interior of British Columbia.

On July 10, the Institute wrote: “This Court ruling all but guarantees increased uncertainty for natural resource projects in Canada…. In provinces like B.C., future natural resource projects may be scuttled, and existing projects may be halted or shut down.

The Institute noted that this is the first time in Canadian history that a declaration of Aboriginal title (the right to land or territory) has been recognized outside an Indian reserve.

And unlike previous judgments, the ruling states that Aboriginal title can extend to all traditional territories and is not limited to specific villages. This is particularly important in B.C. where one-third of the country’s First Nations reserves reside and where outstanding claims involve more than 100 per cent of the province’s land.

COMPANIES

AECOM buys URS

In July AECOM announced a definitive agreement to acquire URS Corporation. The transaction is expected to close in October. URS is based in San Francisco, but has 60 offices across Canada. The transaction was worth US $6 billion and was “expected to realize US$250 million in annual cost-saving synergies, nearly all of which will be achieved by the end of fiscal year 2016.”

PEOPLE

Quebec’s Desrochers leaves

Johanne Desrochers, who was president-director general of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Quebec (AICQ) for 28 years, left the association in May. She gave a final address at the association’s annual conference in Montreal on June 10.

Canadian Consulting Engineer published an extensive interview with Ms. Desrochers in the March-April 2014 issue (p. 44). She discussed the allegations of corruption in the construction industry in Quebec, and said how she hoped to build up confidence in the engineering sector again.

PEOPLE

At Associated Engineering, Herb Kuehne has been appointed as vice president and general manager for Ontario. He will continue to hold his role as senior vice president for civil infrastructure. Don Kennedy has been appointed vice president of transportation structures, and Bryan Petzold is now vice president of transportation planning and traffic engineering.

SIDEBAR

PROFESSION

OIQ investigations dropped

The Quebec Order of Engineers (OIQ) has decided not to lay disciplinary charges in 11 of the 12 cases it has been investigating over the fatal collapse of an overpass in Laval.

When a 20-metre slab of concrete fell from the De la Concorde overpass in 2006 it resulted in the death of five people who were travelling on Highway 19 below it, and injuries to another six.

Chantal Michaud, the head of the OIQ disciplinary syndicate, said the cases were closed because it was not possible to build an airtight case involving a project whose design went back to the 1960s.

BUILDINGS

PROFESSION

OIQ investigations dropped

The Quebec Order of Engineers (OIQ) has decided not to lay disciplinary charges in 11 of the 12 cases it has been investigating over the fatal collapse of an overpass in Laval.

When a 20-metre slab of concrete fell from the De la Concorde overpass in 2006 it resulted in the death of five people who were travelling on Highway 19 below it, and injuries to another six.

Chantal Michaud, the head of the OIQ disciplinary syndicate, said the cases were closed because it was not possible to build an airtight case involving a project whose design went back to the 1960s.

 

Lower Mainland  calling for building energy use reports

A group of local governments in the Lower Mainland of B.C., including the City of Vancouver, has approved a motion, “Benchmarking Tools for B
uilding Energy Use.” The resolution supports requiring large building owners to report their facilities’ energy consumption, likely on an annual basis. The information would be published on a website for public consumption and comparison.