Toronto extends pedestrian bridge

Nov. 4, 2014

Toronto’s PATH network, the city’s downtown underground pedestrian walkway, previously had a southern end at the Air Canada Centre (ACC), a sports arena serving the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors. PATH provides a link to more than 30 kilometers of shops, services and entertainment in a weatherproof environment. With a boom in new commercial and residential construction in the area, there was a growing need to extend PATH and connect the sports arena to the district’s new high-rises.

In June, the All Canada Crane Rental Corp. was called upon by Western Mechanical Electrical Millwright Services Ltd. to provide the equipment, manpower and expertise necessary to lift and place the fully assembled first section of this PATH bridge extension. This portion of the bridge runs from the south side of the ACC and continues underneath the north side of the Gardiner Expressway. It will then be built out to continue under the Gardiner and then over Lake Shore Blvd. to the new mixed-use development located there, including Sun Life Financial Tower and Harbour Plaza Residences. Eventually, the bridge will be further extended to WaterPark Place Complex, which is still under construction.

The bridge, constructed by Lorvin Steel Ltd. and assembled at the Cherry Street docks, was transported from the docks to the installation location by Western Mechanical. Western installed the section under the Gardiner while All provided a 550-ton Grove GMK7550 mobile all-terrain crane for the heavy lifting of the remaining bridge section. The Grove was equipped with 264,000 lb of counterweight and was lifting 104,000 lb at a 65-ft radius. The bridge was designed to slide on extended footings if need be, and can be relocated 20 ft if there is a need for repairs to be made to this portion of the expressway in the future.

“Our 550-ton crane had the left front and right rear outriggers on the lower level loading dock walls of the ACC, and the left rear was on a section of shoring, with the remaining outrigger on undisturbed soil,” said Jason Hanna, Canadian General Manager, All Canada Cranes & Aerials Corp. “It was a bit of a challenge to get the crane square into position, due to the existing pedestrian bridge connecting the ACC to the sports bar located just in front of the carrier of the crane. But with the GMK7550’s maneuverability, and the skill of our experienced team, we were able to make short work of the final setup.”

All later returned to the site with another 550-ton crane—configured with full counterweight and Mega Wing—to assist Western with installation of the final section that stretches over Lake Shore Blvd., tying together the buildings on the south side of Lake Shore to the bridge.