The construction of the third crossing is on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Manager of Construction for the project, James Scheer. Connecting the east end of Kingston to the downtown, Scheer said the bridge is on track to be complete by the end of 2022.
“The City of Kingston has designated the third crossing as an essential service,” Scheer said. This allowed work to continue during the pandemic, while other projects hit pause.
“COVID-19 has been an ever-evolving process,” he added. “We’ve all been through this. At the beginning we were all confused by this. But we were able to develop… some pretty good plans that met the needs specifically for our jobs,” he said.
Scheer made the comments during a site tour and update for members of the local press on Thursday, Jul 16, 2020.
His colleague Jonathan Panneton, Construction Manager for Kiewit, said their focus has been on keeping workers at a six foot distance, rather than asking them to work in masks. Masks are on hand, he said, for when physical distancing is not possible. Anyone coming on to the construction site needs to complete a COVID-19 prescreening questionnaire.
Scheer said COVID-19 precautions have added some minor cost. They’ve had to purchase masks and sanitizers for the work site, as well as deal with personnel restrictions on how many workers can be in a room or space at once. There are approximately 50 workers on site at any given time, Scheer said, all from local unions.
Over the past six months, Kiewit Construction has worked on building the temporary access that allows equipment, materials and workers to get from the east to the west side of the site. The temporary trestle is now 50 per cent complete, Scheer said.
A temporary lift span will be installed across the Rideau Canal this month, to allow people, materials and equipment to move from the east to the west side the site. Scheer said recreational boaters can expect delays of 20 to 30 minutes when the lift span is down.
Scheer said the lift span will only be lowered as necessary.
“It’s normally going to be open during the boating season for boaters to go back and forth safely,” Scheer said. “For very brief durations we’re going to have to close down boating traffic underneath.”
Some of the permanent features, such as 1.6m pipe piles are also visible on site.
“Those eventually are going to be driven all the way down to bedrock, and filled with rebar and concrete,” Scheer said. There will be a total 21 of the pipe piers built across the river when the bridge is complete. Some will have to be driven through 45 m of overburden and clay before they hit bedrock, Scheer said, which is a unique feature of the site and bridge design.
“This is a once in a lifetime project,” Scheer told reporters. “In two years, you’re going to look back on this day, and think about how we were standing here… and the bridge will be over our heads.”