Matcon Canada and Soilmec NA work on the Rogers Arena high-rise

By Dan Hunt, Matcon Canada MESL Group of Companies and Craig Berninger, Champion Equipment Sales, LLC and Soilmec NA

Vancouver Canucks fans and downtown locals will soon be able to enjoy expanded amenities when they visit the Rogers Arena, including the indispensable addition of new restaurants, bathrooms and parking. However, Vancouver residents and workers may be even more excited by the upcoming increase in rental housing and office space that will be provided by the three new, mixed-use high-rise towers under construction surrounding the hockey arena.

Canucks fans and residents may not realize how difficult it was to build the Rogers Arena, which was squeezed between the existing Georgia Street and Dunsmuir Street Viaducts. Now building contractors face the greater feat of constructing three high-rise towers within even tighter jobsites – requiring a construction “hat trick” that hockey fans will appreciate.

Construction of the 31-story South Tower has been particularly demanding since this triangular-shaped tower is being wedged between the southern wall of Rogers Arena and the elevated Georgia Street Viaduct on one side, and the at-grade Pacific Boulevard and Griffiths Way on the two other sides. When complete, this high-rise will include five levels of underground parking, more than 200 rental units and multipurpose facilities.

Matcon Canada MESL Group of Companies recently tackled the challenging excavation, shoring, foundation, site remediation and demolition work for the South Tower. Building next to existing structures always requires special care to ensure that the structures don’t move, so a large part of Matcon’s work focused on careful stabilization of the adjacent foundations for the arena, viaduct and roadways. They used a range of underground solutions, including micropile foundation support and a jet-grout cutoff/shoring wall, to ensure a dry and stable shoring system for the tower’s underground parking garage. Construction was further complicated by a very constrained jobsite, intricate layout for shoring under the viaduct, internal bracing, buried debris, underground utilities, contaminated soil and groundwater issues. The complex shoring system was designed by a local geotechnical company GeoPacific Consultants Ltd.

Micropiling for viaduct foundation support
Construction of the South Tower extends to the property line on all three sides of the jobsite, so the neighbouring structures needed additional support during excavation and during the year with more required to build up the parking structure to ground level. Under and adjacent to the Georgia Street Viaduct, with 30 feet of clearance, micropiling was critical for stabilizing the three existing viaduct pier foundations.



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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.