The dangers of operating heavy equipment are an everyday reality in infrastructure. At Clearway, there is great respect for its staff and their quality of life. That’s why safety procedures are put in place and strictly observed. At the West Toronto Diamond project, working conditions challenged all of that. Not only would crews operate heavy equipment, but they would work in a very confined space in the vicinity of live railway traffic. Without the proper foresight and precautionary measures, results could have been disastrous.
As the busiest rail corridor in the country, the West Toronto Diamond serves as a railway junction for three major commuter and commercial rail lines. With so much traffic, delays and inefficiencies became more commonplace. To overcome this, a plan was put in place allowing for seamless rail traffic throughout the corridor. But before this plan could see the light of day, a large workspace was required. This is the project that Clearway completed.
The project originally called for railway crossing construction in tunnels. Not only was this very expensive, but the deadline would not have been met. With the expertise and insight of Clearway’s engineers and project managers, a new plan was drafted. The difference between the two contracts: meeting the completion date and saving a significant amount of money.
With imagination and innovation, Clearway’s engineers proposed an alternative method of open-cut and changed the watermain construction material from concrete to steel pipe. By designing and implementing two crucial shoring systems, the crews dug 11 meters allowing for open-cut construction across and adjacent to the railways. Most impressively, Clearway’s crews installed all the storm, sanitary and watermains under the tracks without any disruption to train service. To avoid train schedules interfering with work and for safety reasons, the crews worked during off-hours, nights and weekends. And when trains passed through the junction, crews were forced to stop and then start up again after passage.
The success of this project hinged on a massive feat of coordination as Clearway dealt with Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Toronto Terminals Railway, GO Transit, local and provincial governments, consultants, design engineers and subcontractors. Upon completion, Clearway received an early-completion bonus and commendation for its initiatives, commitment and quality of work. The project went on to be awarded the Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA) project of the year for 2008.