Wednesday, July 26, 2017

West Toronto Diamond Grade Separation

Old Weston Road 2013 Bridge Move

The last Visited to the site was on December 20, 2015

On September 28, 2013, the deck span for Old Weston Rd crossing and CP Wye track took place.

Police were on both sides to make sure people didn't enter the area before the 4:00 am start time or cross the corridor. A few people tried this, but were turned away.

At about 1:30 am, a 325-ton mobile crane showed up on the west side of the corridor while a 300-ton arrived on the east side.

About 3:00 am, a very large CP track maintenance crew showed up that was larger than the Diamond Span move to remove the Wye track and prepare it for placement on Sunday.

Work started just after 4:00 am with the removal of the fencing so the crane could setup to remove the sections of the Wye. Each crane removed two sections of tracks each, with CP crews starting to remove the broken ties as well cleaning it up. New ties were installed where needed and then the CP crews left the site. They would return during the day to finish off the work.

Once the track was removed, excavation got under way to remove the road and track area to allow the deck span to be moved into position later in the day. Some of the road was removed on Friday to speed things up.

Once the road was removed, the precast U liners on both sides were removed. The east side had far more liners to be removed and it took more time.

The excavators got to work removing the earth in the tunnel to lower the level so crews could work under the top of the tunnel and allow the deck span bridge to be moved into position like the diamond move.

At the rate of things taking place around 8:30 am, it looked like the deck span could start to move ahead of the 3:00 pm start time, even as early as 11:00 am. The original schedule called for the deck span to start moving at 6:00 pm with 3:00 pm being a hopeful time.

When looking at the retaining wall for the Diamond Span that was moved a few weeks earlier, there was a lack of backfilling as planned to the point the second track guide was not buried, nor earth pushed up to the wall. I guess they found out there was no need to add the planned fill and this will save time when the current location is dug up in 2014 once the track is removed.

CP rail crews were removing dirt and other items from the ties for the rail sections so they could be reinstalled once everything was ready to re-lay them. Some of the ties had to be replaced as they were either broken during the removal or in need of replacement.

A hour or so later, calls were going out that the deck span could be moving by noon.

Around 1:30 pm, Western Mechanical Electrical Millwright Services started to do testing on the hydraulics system and get it ready for the move. Based on confirmation of various readings for the jacks and the system, it was decided to carry on and start moving the deck some where between 2:30 and 2:35 pm. This caught nearly everyone off guard, including this writer. The only ones that knew the deck was moving then were the crew around the deck and those standing on top of it.

This Deck Span Bridge was bigger and heavier than the Diamond Span. It measured 11m [36.1'] by 90m [295.3'] and weighed close to 1,900tonnes [2,094.4 tons] with 35 sections for it. It had bearing pads on it like the other one.

Similiar to the Diamond Span Bridge, it had two unfurnished curb retaining walls as well being ballasts. This span was built for a future track to the south of the current Wye track and it was not in the original design or plan. One would say there is provision of a branch line for the UPE to Milton or further west as well allowing CP to move more trains through the area once the MacTier Sub is upgraded to three tracks at some future date.

Once the deck span started to move, it had to stop a number of time as the excavators were falling behind in removing the dirt from the tunnel.

At 5:15 pm, the first of many failures took place with one of the jacks eating one of the cables. After 45 minutes of removing the failed cable, the span was on the move again.

Even if the cable had not failed, the move had to stop as it was on the rear of the excavators that would add to more failures.

Because the excavators were not moving that fast, the move had to start and stop a number of times. At 7:30 pm with only 12m to go, a second cable failed due to stop and start. It took 20 minutes to remove this broken cable.

As the deck span neared its final position, an excavator stopped because of a hydrolytic failure. The span had to stop again.

Finally they got the excavator fixed and it finally left the trench so the span could get to it position.

Unlike the deck span on September 1st, readings were taken during the last stop to make sure the span was aligned correctly for final placement. This allowed the span to be positioned up to the stop bar without stopping.

Backfilling was taking place along the east side during the last hour since there was a wide gap between the span and the caisson. With the span in position, backfilling would now move a full ramp up along the east side while the west side was being tempered so backfilling could take place later on.

The Old Weston Rd deck span made it to its resting place about 9:00 pm on Saturday, two hours before its scheduled time and 7.5 hours after it started to move. The span started off at 19m per hour and was down to 17m at the end. The first move was 22km and there was hope to have it up at 22km to 25km. Even if they did, it wouldn't help the move.

CP has said they will be happy once the three existing crossings are removed in late March 2014 or early April as it will reduce the extra cost of maintaining them as well as replacing them.

As of January 2014, all the retaining walls are in place with the bracing at the top of the wall. Some retaining work has started on the west wall on the south side.

At the January 2014 community meeting it was said there is about six inches of ice on the floor of the tunnel. The weather is causing a delay on all of the projects to the point that, starting in February, a second shift was being added to work longer hours up to 11:00 pm or later as needed to get the floor and wall finished for early March.

The current schedule is now calling for the new line to go into service at the end of March, subject to the weather.

The current plan calls for the second Diamond Deck Span to be moved into position in May 2014 with Old Weston Rd taking place in June.

Once the Old Weston Rd Span is in place, work will start to rebuild the Old Weston Rd on the Deck Span as well on both sides of it. It will include new sidewalks on both sides of the road and is scheduled to open early August 2014 or September. With the reopening of this crossing, traffic will flow a lot better on St Clair Ave W as well cutting the walking distance down for the local residents.