Tunnel trouble

Construction on a tunnel running underneath Union Street is 75 per cent complete.
Construction on a tunnel running underneath Union Street is 75 per cent complete.
Photo: 

Updated Aug. 2, 2011

A deteriorating water pipe found at the Goodes Hall excavation site will delay the completion of a 60-foot tunnel underneath Union Street.

A $40 million Goodes Hall expansion is under construction and will include an underground parking lot with room for 89 cars. In order to link the lot with parking underneath Tindall Field, a connecting tunnel is being built.

Claude Bellerose, director of planning and construction at Physical Plant Services, said construction on the tunnel was supposed to be completed by Sept. 1. Due to the discovery of the pipe, the tunnel's completion deadline has been moved to Spring 2012—when the entire expansion project is scheduled to be complete.

“The condition of the pipe is not as good as the city led us to believe,” he said.

The City of Kingston gave Queen’s permission to close off Union Street between Frontenac and Alfred Streets on May 3. Construction started six days later.

Currently, 75 per cent of the excavation is complete, with only the area surrounding the water pipe remaining.

Bellerose said excavating underneath the water pipe will be time-consuming.

“Now we have to reroute the water pipe, remove what’s left of the rock underneath where the water pipe was, complete the tunnel, and then replace the section of the pipe we took out,” he said. “We will cap both ends so they don’t leak and keep excavating.”

Bob Polegata, the expansion project’s manager said his team knew the water pipe existed before excavation started.

“So right now, the digging excavation is up to the pipe and we’ve started to excavate the other side,” Polegato said.

It will take approximately six weeks to complete the area of excavation around the water pipe.

Because the work will take longer than expected, in order for the construction team to meet the spring deadline, Queen’s will need to ask city council to extend work hours.

“The current bylaw allows you to work six days a week, excluding Sundays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m,” he said. “We need more time than that so we’re looking to ask for them to work until dark.” The Goodes Hall expansion project was approved by the Queen’s Board of Trustees in May 2010.

Regardless of the extended construction work, Union Street will be open on Sept. 1.

When the tunnel is completed it will allow traffic flow between the Goodes Hall and Tindall Field parking lots and will also include a pedestrian walkway.

This article has been changed to reflect the following clarification:

A deteriorating water pipe will delay the completion of the underground tunnel. Construction on the new west wing of Goodes Hall will not be affected. The $40 million expansion is expected to be completed on schedule for Spring 2012.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.