In late 2014 that the Ontario government gave the green light for a huge wind energy project in Niagara and Haldimand County. Once completed, the project will see 77 3.0 MV wind turbines built in small clusters on a wind farm within the township of West Lincoln and Wainfleet, and the town of Lincoln in the region of Niagara and Haldimand County.
Bermingham Foundation Solutions Ltd. was tasked with providing pile foundations on 27 of the 77 turbines. Work began in April 2015 on pile foundations in the area between Dunnville, Lowbanks, Wainfleet and Mt. Carmel. The piles were 16-inch diameter pipe piles, closed ended and supplied in lengths up to 110 feet each. The lengths installed were up to 155 feet after splicing during installation. The piles were filled with concrete and had rebar cages running the entire length. Bermingham’s B-32, B-4505 and B-5505 hammers were used on vertical travel lead systems that were up to 130 feet long.
At the peak of the project, six cranes were on site driving piles, ranging from 100-ton to 165-ton capacities. Up to eight additional crews set rebar cages and concrete on double shifts. Each turbine had 48 piles, with a total of 1,296 piles installed. The piles were in lengths up to 110 feet (5,590 tons total).
The very aggressive schedule was a major challenge, and one of the reasons Bermingham was selected. Additionally pile tip elevations varied drastically in some locations, and were not consistent with contract expected depths. Strong working relationships with suppliers allowed Bermingham to get additional required material – as needed – on very short notice without any downtime.
Another unique facet to the project was placing rebar cages the full length of the pile in such long and narrow piles. Bermingham developed a rapid in-place splicing technique to insert cages efficiently and a customizable tremie system to place concrete in wet conditions with piles varying in length by 50 feet at a single turbine. Following the installation of piles, massive concrete bases were poured and buried, on which precast tower sections were erected. (Full Article in PileDriver by Lisa Kopochinski)