The sounds of jobs Michigan needs to hear

Pile driving gearing up on Windsor-Essex Parkway

Posted by:
Dave Battagello

A couple dozen steel beams about 50 metres in length were being unloaded Tuesday as pile driving was poised to begin for the $1.4-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway just west of St. Clair College.

Neighbours within a couple hundred metres away in the 4100 block of St. Clair Street in LaSalle were not yet overly concerned, seemingly more disturbed by the endless rumbling and constant “beep, beep” of construction equipment and trucks.

“It bothers my husband a lot because he works nights,” said Sarah Glasgow, a mother of three children of ages eight, five and eight months. “Some days he doesn’t sleep at all.

“That sound penetrates into the house more than anything else.”

As for the pile driving, Glasgow said she keeps waiting for it to rattle the home, but hasn’t yet been noticeable.

Two other neighbors on the street, who asked not to be identified, said they have not been overly disturbed by pile driving or construction noise in general.

That may change quickly over the next few days.

Initial pile driving for the parkway will be done by a Hamilton-based firm Bermingham Foundation Solutions – a specialist which last year was involved in pile driving for the expansion of Sterling Fuels along the Detroit River in the city’s west end.

Much of Tuesday was spent in preparation work.

Pile driving over the next few weeks will be focused on work for a new bridge near St. Clair College and a new tunnel close to the Windsor Crossing Outlet Mall, said Cindy Prince, spokeswoman for the parkway contractors group.

Pile driving with a single rig will go into full swing on Wednesday at the bridge location, she said. A second rig will arrive in the coming days to begin work on the tunnel location just to the east.

“Work in both locations is expected to take approximately six to 12 weeks depending on soil conditions and time required to drive the piles,” Prince said.

“We want to ensure neighboring communities are well advised about our pile driving activities.”

In total, there are approximately 5,600 piles required to be driven for the construction of the various Parkway structures. Construction of bridges and tunnels requires steel piles be driven in the ground for support.

Pile driving will be limited to daytime construction hours, Prince said. Parkway contractors have hired a third-party firm to monitor vibrations.

“We will treat any public inquiries related to pile driving as a priority,” she said. “We will work to answer questions and address concerns as quickly as possible.”

Residents with questions or concerns about construction should call 1-877-WE-PKWAY.