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The theme of this year’s ACI B.C. Chapter Spring Seminar was infrastructure maintenance, repair and monitoring. Held in Vancouver, the roster of guest speakers was impressive and kept to industry’s current focus: finding ways to extend the life of aging bridges, tunnels, roads, piers, and dams.

Peter Emmons, from Structural Group Inc., lead an engaging presentation on the keys to success for concrete repairs. A main point was the reduction of shrinkage in concrete repair materials being crucial to the structural integrity of the final product. Several examples illustrated inadequate repairs and the root causes of each.Adding another layer of knowledge to repair techniques was an overview of the new infrastructure management program in B.C. presented by Thomas Abbuhl, director of BCIT’s Centre for Infrastructure Management. Oliver Gepraegs of Levelton Consultants Ltd. instructed us on bridge deck condition survey techniques and how the degradation of reinforced concrete can be diagnosed and remedied.

Finally, the day ended with two interesting case studies. Jacques Marchand from the Engineering Department at the University of Laval and Dr. Denis Mitchell from McGill University’s Engineering Department reviewed the forensic analysis of the Concorde overpass collapse in Montreal.

These case studies contrasted sharply with the engineering, design and monitoring associated with the Confederation Bridge construction that Ross Gilmour, former Director of Design and Engineering for the project, outlined to the group. Ross’s presentation kept the crowd in their seats until the very end of that sunny Friday afternoon. It was interesting to get an insider’s tour of the Confederation Bridge design as well as the details of the maintenance and monitoring post construction.

Of course, a seminar would not be complete without the humor and professional banter that Dr. Mindess from the University of British Columbia embedded in his discussion notes during his presentation on employing ductile concrete in repair.

Attendance for this year’s seminar exceeded expectations with more than 75 industry leaders attending the one-day seminar. The presenters and topics were of very high calibre and the feedback from the floor was extremely positive.

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