At the eastern end of the Greater Toronto Area, the communities of Pickering, Ajax, Oshawa, Whitby and Clarington have been experiencing substantial growth. To address this growth and congestion, the extension of Highway 407 was proposed under Infrastructure Ontario’s Design, Build, Finance and Maintain model. Phase 1 (Hwy 407 extension from Brock Rd. in Pickering to Harmony Rd. in Oshawa, as well has Hwy 412) was officially opened in June of 2016. Phase 2 (Hwy 407 extension from Harmony Rd. in Oshawa to Hwy 35/115 in Clarington, as well as Hwy 418) was awarded Blackbird Infrastructure, which is a partnership between CRH Canada Group Inc. and Cintra Infraestructuras. This phase is expected to be open to the public by December 2019.
The challenge of this project is weaving a highway through existing communities, roads and infrastructure and aim for seamless incorporation. It requires careful design to minimize disruption, and substantial planning of operations. Often work was done adjacent to live roads where staging of operations was important, as well as traffic management. In other areas, work was done in the middle of a field, where new access roads and substantial site preparation was required. Across the 32km of highway, ground conditions would vary substantially. Even though, borehole information was available, it was uncommon for the piles to obtain capacity at the anticipated depths. This would require Bermingham to react quickly to either verify if the revised capacity is sufficient, or source additional material for splicing.
Bermingham was capable of ramping up substantially to meet the client’s schedule demands. At the peak of their work, 5 cranes were on site rigged up with a Vertical Travel Lead (VTL) system, as well as a Diesel Impact Hammer. Coordination between the structures was key, to ensure there was continuous flow of work for the piling rigs, welding crews, and material handling crews. Bermingham also acted as a key partner when working to problem solve difficult ground conditions. Through evolving operations, one crane was able to pre-drill through dense ground, install sheet piles with a vibratory hammer, impact drive pipe piles, drill through pipe piles, set up splicing, and facilitate concrete placement. All work was done through close communication with the client to ensure their satisfaction with the final product.