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Development News

Dufferin Bridge is gone

Just before 1:30 on Monday morning, the 101-year-old Dufferin Bridge ceased to be. After alarming inspectors enough with its pendulous concrete to order an immediate closure in June, the bridge over the GO Transit railway line ended up proving a little more stalwart than city workers expected.

"A couple of things surprised us, given the age of the structure," says Michael d'Andrea, the city's executive director for engineering and construction services. "The concrete was much harder, and adhered to the girders far better than we could ever have envisioned, … and the physical connection between these very large steel beams and the girders were in much better shape than expected."

He made clear that this does not mean they tore the thing down when they didn't have to. "We were surprised by how strong the concrete was in some areas, but in other areas, it was pretty weak."

The result was 48 hours of round-the-clock destruction, using 12-hour shifts of 15-20 workers, and another 15-20 engineers, general contractors and GO and Metrolinx advisors. It took two cranes, seven Bobcats, nine jackhappmers and five trucks running continuously to haul away the 1,000 tonnes of concrete, 120 tonnes of asphalt, and 100-150 tonnes of steel. D'Andrea says more than 90 per cent of all that will be recycled.

Within the next week or 10 days, a temporary pedestrian bridge will be erected, and by early 2014 there will be two temporary vehicle bridges joining it, all of which will be replaced by permanent structures by 2016 and should – assuming we’re at least as good at our jobs as our great grandparents -- last till about 2117.

Writer: Bert Archer
Sources: Michael d’Andrea, Jodie Atkins
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