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Desjardins Canal Project, Hamilton, Ontario
Aerial Picture of the Desjardins Canal Site

The Desjardins Canal crossing is of great historical significance in Hamilton, Ontario. The canal is an artifact of Dundas, Ontario's early 1830's effort to connect the town by water to the developing shipping routes on Lake Ontario. This route prospered for approximately 20 years until the Great Western Railway was built running from Windsor, Ontario through Dundas/Hamilton to Niagara Falls and rendered the canal's usefulness obsolete. The site is also host to a rail bridge collapse disaster that is still the largest single incident loss of life in Hamilton's history leaving 59 people dead.

Desjardins Canal Site

Presently the canal is crossed by 6 bridges; the east and westbound Hwy 403, York Boulevard and three rail bridges. In 2015 the West Harbour Go Station was opened running GO train service on the Lakeshore west line to Toronto. The GO Passenger line has been sharing a rail line with CN's freight and in order to bring in a dedicated line to the station, another bridge needed to be built over the canal. The new bridge will be only meters from the site of the 1857 railway bridge collapse.

Bermingham's scope of work was to install micropiles for the two abutments and two piers of the new bridge. The abutments were constructed first and were made up of 340 mm steel liners driven utilizing a Bermingham L-18 VTL System and a drop hammer, then augered and grouted approximately 14 meters (45-ft) past the liner depth. This was completed all the while surrounded by live rail lines. However the more difficult micropiles to place were at the piers. What made completing this more challenging was the fact that the only location available for the crane was on the freshly placed abutment, the location of the piles being sixty feet below. Bermingham developed a solution that utilized a flying BL-32 Lead system and a B-9 Diesel hammer to be able to first drive the liners, then utilized the same flying lead but with an H-15 Drill to auger out the inside of the pile before grouting.

Bermingham is proud to have completed another project with Dufferin Construction and looks forward to a continued relationship in the future.

Download a PDF of the Desjardins Canal Project Report