Dufferin Construction

Dufferin Construction Co.’s commitment to innovative construction methods and technologies is shining through on three major road and bridge projects the company is constructing in Ontario. Work is underway on three contracts for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation:  core/collector expansion on Highway 401 west of Highway 410 in Mississauga, Highway 401 westbound collector rehabilitation from Jane Street to Kipling Avenue in Toronto, and the rehabilitation of eight bridges along Highway 403 in Hamilton.

Bridge Projects

In August 2010, Dufferin Construction successfully executed the complete replacement of the Aberdeen Avenue Bridge over Highway 403 in just 51 hours, one of the eight bridges it is rehabilitating on Highway 

403, Dufferin District Manager Ryan Farrish says, “The operation was underway just after 9 p.m. on July 30 and the new; completely re­placed overpass was ready for traffic just after midnight Aug. 2, much to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario and Dufferin Construction. The operation was ahead of the scheduled 80-hour duration permitted for the work.”

The cost for the rehabilitation project on all eight bridges is $35.8 million. Dufferin Construction is upgrading structural supports, rehabbing concrete, replacing bearings and barrier walls, coating structural steel and repaving the bridges. The project is staged to occur over the 2010, 2011 and 2012 construction seasons, he adds.

“The rapid bridge replacement method involves building sections of the bridge off-site and either lifting them into place with self-propelled modular transporters or sliding them into place on rails and heavy jacks,” Ontario Ministry of Transportation Area Contracts Engineer Joe Costantino says.

The Aberdeen Avenue bridge – constructed of a concrete slab on steel girders – is the third rapid bridge project Dufferin Construction has performed, and the first of its size. The bridge also differs from the previous rapid bridge projects because it is a four-span bridge. The earlier projects, located in Ottawa, were single-span bridges, Costantino adds.

Aberdeen Avenue was selected for the method because it had space nearby to construct the new sections, and was in an area with less traffic volume than the other seven Highway 403 bridges being worked on. The bridge was shut down during replacement. “This is a relatively new method for us we didn’t want to try it in an urban or congested area,” Costantino says.

All of the bridges being rehabbed were constructed in the 1960s. The Ministry of Transportation regularly inspects and maintains the bridges. All of the bridges are located on a major commuter and truck route through Hamilton, Farrish says.

Dufferin Construction is using a total of 6,000 cubic meters – 211,888 cubic feet – of concrete in the bridge project. A total of 5,000 square meters –  53,819 square feet – of refacing and rehabilitation work is being performed, he adds.

Core/Collector Expansion

In fall 2009, the company started work on a $102 million core and collector expansion on about 4 kilometers – roughly 2.5 miles – on Highway 401 from Highway 410 to just east of Mavis Road. The project will conclude in 2013.

The project involves building five new bridges, widening the road from six to 12 lanes in both directions, constructing a new commuter parking lot, and adding a new concrete driving surface to the highway, Dufferin Construction District Manager Eddy Marin says.

The road work involves the use of 50,000 cubic meters – roughly  1,765,733 cubic feet – of concrete flatwork; 100,000 tons of asphalt paving; and more than 7,500 cubic meters –  264,860 cubic feet – of structural concrete.

Dufferin Construction is using the Aluma Hi-Flyer concrete forming system on one of the bridges during the project. The system uses rollers to pour concrete decks on sections of the bridges; when one section is poured, crews roll the formwork down to the next section. This saves time and is safer than conventional pouring methods, Marin says.

The purpose of the project is to improve traffic flow and capacity in the area, Ontario Ministry of Transportation Area Contracts Engineer Mike Chan says. 

Collector Rehab

Elsewhere on Highway 401, Dufferin crews started work on a $60 million westbound collector rehabilitation from Jane Street to Kipling Avenue in Toronto, Ontario in spring 2010.

Work on the 5.7-kilometer (or 3 miles) stretch of highway includes adding an additional lane of traffic, building a new retaining wall, upgrading pavement and lighting, replacing steel beam guide rail with concrete barrier, and rehabbing 14 bridges, Marin says.

This stretch of Highway 401 also regularly sees a very high volume of traffic with an average Annual Daily Traffic of 450,000 vehicles, Chan says. Construction will end in late 2013.

Longstanding Relationship

Dufferin Construction has a long history of delivering successful projects for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. 

“(The Ministry) is a very important stakeholder for us and we have built a solid reputation for excellence, stability and innovative leadership with them as well as with our other customers. Our work on these projects bears a strong testament to our innovative and technical leadership,” Marin says.

Dufferin Construction, a division of Holcim (Canada) Inc., is one of Canada’s largest heavy civil engineering contractors, working across Canada The company has a large focus on major heavy civil projects such as highways, bridgework and airport work, Marin says. Past projects include constructing Highway 401 during the 1950s.

Dufferin was founded in 1912. “It is this heritage that allows us to possess the strong financial credentials and stability to build long-term partnerships with our customers and offer them a full range of diversified construction services, while offering a safe and progressive work environment for our employees,” the company says. “We pride ourselves on our people.  Our employees are our greatest asset.”

Employing approximately 3,500 Canadians and generating annual revenues over $1.3 billion, Holcim (Canada) Inc. is a leading producer and supplier of products and services for the construction industry, serving customers across Canada. Holcim (Canada) Inc. is a member of the Holcim Group.

Costantino says he feels Dufferin Construction is among the most qualified contractors the ministry works with. “From my experience, they’re professional, very health and safety conscious, and concerned about quality and client satisfaction,” he adds.

Chan says strong communication is one of the company’s greatest assets, especially on this project.

“They were always willing to sit down and talk to us about how to solve any problems that may come up,” he says.

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