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The Peace Bridge

The Peace Bridge Public Authority selected NORR Limited Architects and Engineers to design their new land border facility in January 2004. Completed in 6 months, the facility located on the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge at Fort Erie, Ontario, is comprised of a new Refugee Processing Centre, Canadian customs, and the authority's administration building with new tollbooths.

The Peace Bridge is the third largest land border crossing in Ontario and deals with a substantial amount of daily traffic. The architects were faced with the challenge to plan and build a new facility that would replace the existing one, while not interfering with it's daily operations including traffic flow off the bridge onto the highway starting at the west end of the authorities property.

Custom Precast Solution
Precast concrete offered the creative flexibility to provide the ultimate design solution; sectioned precast units, post-tensioned together on site with rapid erection times to create a massive radial canopy structure suspended 4.7 m above on cast in place columns.

The precast segments incorporated normal reinforcing steel and lateral post-tensioning ducts. Each unit measures 2.8 m x 11.5 m making the total canopy 42 m in length. The units were manufactured in Pre-Con's modern production facility in Brampton, Ontario. A typical unit weighed approximately 34 tonnes. 15 radial units in all make up the canopy.

Canopy roof segments were transported to the site on flat bed trucks and assembled to form the canopy in 2 halves. The client's major concern not to interrupt traffic was accomplished. This erection and the redirection of traffic occurred very quickly. A center splice permitted erection and tensioning while the other area was open for traffic.

Each canopy section was cast in a custom constructed wood form. The exposed surfaces used a urethane rubber form liner. The form liner imprinted the underside of the canopy with a rustic rough saw board finish. This casting liner came from a 150-year-old barn slated for demolition in northern Michigan State. The gently curved underside of the canopy with the rough sawn board finish relates to the proposed real wood canopy of the secondary inspection area building.

The form liner and mold will be reused in the second stage of construction in the following year when 34 more units will be created and erected to make up the primary inspection canopy at the customs area. Spreading the use of the form and liner out to a total 49 sections will give the client an economical and unique solution.

Project Facts:
Type: Precast post-tensioned custom-made concrete canopy for toll collection lanes
Location: Peace Bridge, Canadian Plaza, Fort Erie, Ontario
Dimensions: 15 units of 2.8 m x 11.5 m making a monolithic radial canopy of 42 m x 11.5 m suspended on cast in place concrete columns 4.7m above grade
Construction Time: 6 month (total project), 6 weeks for the casting and erection of the precast sections
Project Completion: April 2005

Credits:Owner: Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority
Architect: NORR Limited Architects and Engineers
General Contractor: Newman Bros. Limited
Engineer: NORR Limited Architects and Engineers
Precaster: Pre-Con Inc.

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