October 7, 2013
ACEC honours Cleveland Dam
CWA ENGINEERS INC.
The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – British Columbia's (ACEC-BC) recently presented the CWA Engineers Inc. with an award for the installation of an elevator at the Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver.
The new elevator project won the annual People’s Choice Poll for providing access to the base of the Cleveland Dam via a 60m deep (20 storeys) airshaft cut through rock. This project beat out thirty-one other engineering feats to win the award.
The other top voted projects were Gibraltar Development Plan 3 and the Detours portion of the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement initiative.
Metro Vancouver engaged CWA Engineers Inc. as the prime consultant for the construction project, which was designed and installed with the assistance of EBA, RWDI, Gunn Consultants, and R.F. Binnie & Associates.
Urban Solutions Architecture provided architectural services while Graham Construction was the general contractor.
The construction of the project involved several significant challenges.
To begin, the environment within the airshaft was windy because air was channeled to two intake valves that function as a low-level outlet when a controlled discharge of the Capilano Reservoir bypasses the Cleveland Dam spillway.
In addition, groundwater seepage through the airshaft rock combined with the airflow created a misty environment. In cold weather, the wind mixed with water would form ice in the airshaft creating a very undesirable and unsafe environment for the elevator and personnel.
The design team decided that ducting would be installed to provide an enclosed air path to the intake valves, in order for the elevator to have a long service life and to ensure a safe work environment.
The completed ducting did not sacrifice airflow, which could potentially jeopardize the valve function, and eliminated the potential for ice developing in the airshaft.
The project also included a new service building which had to be located at the base of an embankment that was seismically unstable.
Cleveland Dam is classified as a post disaster structure.
This means the underground galleries house equipment which would likely need to be accessed should there be a major seismic event.
For this reason, a soil anchor wall was used to retain as many trees as possible and seismically isolate the slope from the building.
This ensured the elevator building was not susceptible to a landslide during a Maximum Credible Earthquake (MCE) and allows personnel to use the elevator to access the lower galleries.
The People’s Choice Poll takes place each year following ACEC-BC’s Annual Awards Gala.
The poll offers the public a chance to vote on which engineering project they feel is the most impressive or most impactful on their lives.
ACEC-BC is a provincial association of consulting firms with 90 members that provide engineering and other technology-based intellectual services to the built and natural environment.
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