Groupe Océan is about to embark on one of the most important civil engineering challenges in its history. The Quebec maritime company will be the captain on the water behind the dismantling of the old structure of the Champlain Bridge.
“We are going to act as a maritime operator arm,” said the Newspaper Philippe Filion, Director of Public and Corporate Affairs. “We have to make sure that there will be as few impacts as possible in the water,” he said.
Groupe Océan will be responsible for operations on the St. Lawrence River, in particular the demolition of the piles and the footings of the bridge in the water.
The company plans to mobilize around 40 workers, 13 barges and a tug for about two years to ensure this stage in the deconstruction of the 3.4 km structure.
The Quebec company will act, in fact, as a subcontractor and marine surveyor for the Nouvel Horizon St-Laurent consortium, made up of Pomerleau and Delsan-AIM. The amount of the Groupe Océan contract has not been disclosed, but it is figure at “several million dollars”.
It must be said that the dismantling of the Champlain Bridge piece by piece, some work on the shore of which has been started since the summer, should cost around $ 400 million, according to estimates from Les Ponts Jacques-Cartier and Champlain Incorporée.
43 months of work
The duration of the work should be spread over more or less 43 months, and 65% of the work will be done above the river.
About 290,000 tonnes of material will need to be removed, ie some 250,000 tonnes of concrete, 25,000 tonnes of steel and 12,000 tonnes of asphalt. Some materials will be recycled.
Groupe Océan also participated in the construction of the new Samuel-De Champlain Bridge, which links Montreal and Brossard. This structure of nearly $ 4.5 billion was officially inaugurated in June 2019.
For this last project, the shipping company had to develop and manufacture new equipment, in particular because of the currents on the St. Lawrence River.
These new structures will now be used to support the demolition of the Champlain Bridge.
“The Catatug 2, a mixed frame between a catamaran and a tug, and a winch barge were built specifically for these contracts,” says Mr. Filion.
“Below the Champlain Bridge, there are three features that prevent the use of standard boats. There is not much water depth, there is a lot of current and there is ice. We needed something powerful that stayed more on the surface ”.
The Île d’Orléans bridge
Since its founding in 1972, Groupe Océan has collaborated on several other projects related to various bridges, including the Île d’Orléans Bridge, the Chicoutimi Bridge and the Confederation Bridge.
Management concedes that it is currently targeting the contract for the construction of the future Île d’Orléans bridge in Quebec. The government hopes to be able to inaugurate this new structure in 2027.
“We are sure we are looking at it,” replied Mr. Filion, whose organization closely follows the calls for tenders for this site.
Barges for the Canadian Coast Guard
The Ocean Group recently won a contract with Ottawa for the construction of 16 barges to be delivered to the Canadian Coast Guard.
Work on the new structures began a few days ago at the organization’s shipyard in Quebec. The order of more than $ 4.16 million is expected to be completed by August 2021.
“These barges will be used by the Canadian Coast Guard, as part of the Oceans Protection Plan, in order to respond quickly to spills,” explained to Newspaper Philippe Filion, Director of Public and Corporate Affairs at Groupe Océan.
Other Ottawa contracts
This contract was won through a call for tenders from the federal government. “The entire order of approximately $ 14 million was split between three shipping companies,” said Mr. Filion.
The Quebec-based company is also eyeing other contracts to come from Ottawa that will be part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
Let us recall that the government provided for an envelope of $ 2 billion for the construction and repair of ships of less than 1000 tonnes.
Groupe Océan aims to bid for the construction of smaller boats, such as 50-meter mid-ocean multi-mission vessels.
These vessels can support icebreaking and buoyancy work in shallow water and provide support for science missions.
Groupe Océan has 900 employees and does business in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and the Caribbean.