Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New sinkhole worries in Port Moody

Could a third sinkhole be forming beneath the ground where the Evergreen Line tunnel is being built in Port Moody?
That’s the concern from residents living in the area after a bulletin was sent out Monday regarding more issues with the tunnel boring machine.
According to the bulletin from EGRT Construction, the group tasked with building the line, the machine is currently under Clarke Road at Seaview Drive as part of regular maintenance that involves inspecting and replacing the cutter head tools before the machine advances.
The bulletin said while maintenance was underway — despite the construction of a subsurface grout wall in front of the machine — some ground material entered the machine’s chamber.
“Crews will be drilling bore holes from the road surface of Clarke Road and Seaview Drive to investigate the grout wall constructed earlier this month,” the bulletin stated. “Additional grout may be injected from the surface to ensure that the grout wall is completely sealed in front of the [machine’s cutter head]. This will allow for the safe completion of the ... maintenance.”
Ground material getting into the tunnel-boring machine  chamber during maintenance was blamed for two sinkholes that opened up along the line last year and in January.
Kerry Lecorre, a Port Moody resident who lives near where the first sinkhole appeared on Chateau Place and has organized meetings among neighbours regarding the issue, suggested material getting into the chamber is not a good sign.
“I really thought after all the precautions they took this time, along from learning what didn’t work the last two times, that they would’ve got it right this time,” she said.
“I imagine the people living in those nearby homes aren’t going to be happy to see the drill machines back on site.”
EGRT Construction noted safety is the first priority on the Evergreen Line project and that precautionary measures are undertaken to ensure the public is safe, adding the work will occur within a secure area.
The bulletin also noted traffic on Clarke Road continues with one lane in each direction, however traffic patterns may change if equipment needs to re-position to different locations.
A spokesperson for the ministry said the contractor is still doing investigative work, pointing out the situation doesn’t necessarily mean a sinkhole will appear.
“Based on preliminary investigations, there is no indication that a hole will form on the surface,” the ministry wrote in an e-mail.
The tunnel portion of the Evergreen Line has recently been plagued with problems, and last month it was announced due to slow progress of the boring work the opening of the line will be delayed to the fall of 2016.

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