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Manufacturer certain 500 girders on Windsor-Essex Parkway are safe

The company that manufactured the pre-stressed concrete girders for the Windsor-Essex Parkway in southwest Ontario says they have had experts perform comprehensive testing that proves the girders are more than adequate for the project.


The company that manufactured the pre-stressed concrete girders for the Windsor-Essex Parkway in southwest Ontario says they have had experts perform comprehensive testing that proves the girders are more than adequate for the project.

In late October last year, the P3 consortia responsible for designing and building the 11-kilometre, $1.4-billion Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway suddenly rejected Freynisset Canada’s 500 girders and indicated that they were even going to have the girders that had already been installed removed. Their concerns were partly related to the girders’ welding standards. Click here to read original story “Hundreds of girders cause problems on the $1.4-billion P3 Windsor Parkway.”

Now Freyssinet Canada has issued a statement on January 14 saying they have had their structures reviewed by prominent engineers Professor Maher Tadros and Craig Finlay. The company says these experts confirmed the results of earlier full-scale load testing and that: “they exceed project structural capacity requirements, having almost twice the requisite strength.”

“Comprehensive investigations performed with the support of leading independent experts have confirmed that pre-stressed concrete girders manufactured by Freyssinet Canada Ltee … for use in the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway are entirely safe for use,” said the company release.

According to Freyssinet, Prof. Tadros is the inventor of the Nebraska University Girder, “which is the type of girder specified for the Parkway project, and a component that has been used successfully throughout North America for more than 20 years.”

The release did not give Prof. Tadros’ or Finlay’s other affiliations, but a search on LinkedIn lists a Professor Maher Tadros at the University of Nebraska (and educated at the University of Calgary), and a Craig Finlay, PE, as president of a company in Tallahasse, Florida and a bridge expert who is registered in 43 states.

The company says that after Professor Tadros reviewed Freyssinet’s investigations and other published reports, and visited the fabrication yard, he concluded: “I have not seen anything that would lead me to believe that the girders need to be removed or destroyed…. The three components of Freyssinet Canada’s girders — concrete, prestressing steel and welded wire reinforcement – both meet and in some cases exceed project requirements.”

Finlay, after his review and inspections, stated: “the design and fabrication of the girders are of high quality and are appropriate for this type of construction.” Freyssinet says Finlay indicated no reservations about the suitability of the girders in meeting the specified project requirements, expressing his belief that they should be incorporated into the project and not be removed.

Freynisset therefore asserts that the decision to reject Freyssinet’s girders “was based on limited and inaccurate information,” and they point out that “removing the girders will be an extremely expensive undertaking, inconveniencing the public and significantly impacting the environment.”

Parkway Infrastructure Constructors (PIC) who are responsible for the design and construction of the parkway on behalf of Windsor Essex Mobility Group includes Fluor Canada, Dragados Canada and Acciona Infrastructure. PIC has local partnerships with consulting engineers Hatch Mott MacDonald, Amico Infrastructures, Dillon Consulting, LEA Consulting, AMEC and Black & McDonald.

The parkway extends Highway 401 southwest to Tecumseh, Lasalle and Windsor, at the U.S. border with Detroit. It has six lanes, which these run below ground partly for acoustic reasons, 11 tunnels and 300 acres of green space. The project required the acquisition of 900 properties, and its first phase was due to be completed this summer.

Freyssinet Canada was established in 1990. Click here to read their release.