Courtesy of H.J. O'Connell-Vancouver Pile Driving Joint VentureThe Sir Ambrose Shea lift bridge replacement is one of dozens of bridge projects on "The Rock"

By Heather Hudson

To everything there is a season, including bridges. Many of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 1,134 bridge and culvert structures are at the end of their service life, having aged upwards of 50 years in some cases.

As a result, Newfoundland is in the midst of an infrastructure makeover.

The province’s 2013 budget allotted $866 million on infrastructure projects, including more than $32 million on bridge repair, rehabilitation and replacements.

“Not unlike the rest of the country, we face the challenge of aging infrastructure,” said Department of Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath. “Through investments such as these, we will ensure that the bridge infrastructure is maintained at an acceptable standard in terms of safety and comfort for the people who use them.”

In the past four years, the province has awarded contracts valued at $107 million for bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects.

Eighteen bridge repair and replacement projects are being tendered in 2013-14, but none are more extensive than the $40.6-million contract to replace the Sir Ambrose Shea lift bridge in Placentia, N.F. The project also received $8 million in federal funding.

The project combines the expertise and labour of designers and pile drivers from across the country.

Designed by engineering, planning, management and technology firm Delcan, the construction was awarded to H.J. O’Connell Construction Ltd., which is completing the project jointly with Vancouver Pile Driving Ltd.

Work began in May 2013 and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2016.

A bridge well travelled
The Sir Ambrose Shea lift bridge is the only one of its kind in Newfoundland and Labrador. A well-travelled thorough-fare, it connects the amalgamated town of Placentia, which is comprised of the communities of Placentia, Jerseyside, Freshwater and Dunville. The bridge is raised for vessels approximately 2,500 times a year, mostly to allow commercial fishing vessels to enter the sheltered harbour and dock.



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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.