The Government of Ontario owns various land parcels throughout the West Don Lands in Toronto. As agent for the province, the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) – subsequently Infrastructure Ontario (IO) – manages these assets on behalf of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal (PIR).
It was determined that portions of these lands would be redeveloped, including housing and parkland as part of the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront. This would also involve the construction of a flood protection landform, a large earth berm along the west side of the Don River. The work was undertaken by ORC in cooperation with the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC), City of Toronto and the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA).
The flood protection landform (FPL) was required to prevent the potential flooding of 210 hectares of City Land including the West Don Lands. The FPL will provide a flood barrier along the west side of the Don River from Queen Street south to the Railway lands. The south and east portions of the landform are being developed as parkland.
LEA was retained as part of a larger consulting group, to carry out preliminary and detailed design, design drawings, contract documents and construction supervision for new and realigned roads, Bayview Avenue and River Street over the landform and into the development area, along with street lighting, the structural tie-in of the landform to the King Street/ Queen Street viaduct, and various other peripheral consulting services.
The requirements of many different stakeholders needed to be satisfied and incorporated into the designs, along with the sustainability guidelines of TWRC.
LEA was involved in the preliminary design of “Woonerfs” (City Laneways) for the areas either side of River Street extension. This was an example of the City’s early use of this innovative pedestrian-friendly access laneway system first used in Europe.
In addition to street lighting, LEA designed the traffic signals for various intersections in the new street system along with the design of the intersections themselves. Part of the intersection design involved the investigation of pedestrian scramble zones and cyclist dwell areas.
LEA also prepared the design of a pedestrian ramp from the River Street extension area, up to the elevated section of Eastern Avenue over the Don River, to replace an existing pedestrian facility which conflicted with River Street Extension. This new pedestrian ramp was required to be positioned West Don Lands Infrastructure Development so as to leave room for a future bus only down-ramp off elevated Eastern Avenue, to Bayview Avenue extension. LEA prepared the necessary functional designs for this bus ramp and negotiated approvals-in-principle with the relevant City departments.
On the closing of the existing Bayview Avenue, the secure route for Toronto Hydro to bring in replacement transformers to large City sub-stations in an emergency was not able to be maintained. LEA designed a temporary roadway adequate to support the transformer loads, and with a vertical and horizontal alignment compatible with the required heavy equipment. This roadway – when implemented – ensured the security of power supply to Toronto’s downtown core.
LEA also completed a structural survey of the piers of the elevated section of Eastern Avenue which were scheduled to be buried within the flood protection landform.
Remedial measures were proposed to correct any cracking and other deficiencies, along with a system to isolate the piers from the landform and ensure their continued flexure as originally designed. A new drainage system was designed for the partially buried piers.
As part of the Risk Assessment/ Risk Management (RA/RM) plan for the West Don Lands it was determined that contaminated materials encountered on the site would generally be buried in accordance with MOE Guidelines. Retaining these materials on the site became a concern if they were to surround any utilities and services beneath the roadways, which could require maintenance in the future. The RA/RM plan determined guidelines for back fill trench widths and depths surrounding utilities and services which would require back fill meeting MOE Table 3 guidelines or better (cleaner material). LEA was requested to complete a series of road cross-sections which would interpret the guidelines and define for the Contractor (and – in future – by means of the as-built drawings, City maintenance staff) the width and depth of these special materials to surround all services and utilities beneath the roads.
More recently, LEA prepared traffic management plans for the staging of traffic control in the King Street/ Queen Street tie-in area to the north-end of the site, to ensure continuity of traffic service when the link road between Bayview Avenue and River Street is closed, and sections of the new Bayview Avenue Extension are opened to traffic.
This project commenced in 2005 and continued until completion in 2015, in time for the Toronto hosting of the Pan Am Games.