The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced that Oakville based Dufferin Construction has been awarded a contract to replace a series of ship tie-up walls on the Welland Canal. The contract, which entails the removal of the present timber tie-up walls and the construction of new tie-up walls using steel and concrete, is valued at $86 million. The balance of the funding envelope is dedicated to engineering, the purchase of various supplies, and inspection activity.

The tie-up walls to be replaced are located alongside Lock 1 (in the vicinity of Lakeshore Road), Lock 2 (in the vicinity of Carlton Street) and Lock 3 (in the vicinity of the St. Catharines Museum). The work will take place over the next four years, and is slated to begin in early October of this year and conclude in the spring of 2017.

To permit the construction work to proceed, portions of the Welland Canal Parkway Trail (WCPT) that runs alongside the tie-up walls will be closed for periods of time. In addition, portions of the Welland Canals Parkway (commonly referred to as “Canal Road”) will also be closed for periods of time. Signs will be erected along the Canal, to keep the public informed about the activity and the resulting detours.

Under the current outlook, the project will not impact the flow of traffic crossing any of the bridges that span the Welland Canal.

The rebuilding of the tie-up walls is one component of a $395 million asset renewal program that SLSMC is undertaking over the next five years to ensure the continued reliability of the Seaway.

Seaway volumes down

Separately, SLSMC reported traffic for the current year to August 31. On a year-to-date base, all categories registered cargo losses, except for liquid bulk, which registered a 5.8-per-cent increase to 2.1 million tonnes. Shipments of general cargo suffered the most, down by 16.5 per cent, followed by shipments of iron ore, which were down by 15.0 per cent. Overall shipments were down by 9.2 per cent from 21.3 million tonnes in 2012 to 19.3 million tonnes during the comparable period in 2013. Volumes in the Montreal to Lake Ontario section declined by 14.4 per cent to 14.5 million tonnes, while volumes in the Welland Canada section declined by 4.2 per cent to 16.0 million tonnes.