ComBAR® in North America 2012: A reviewfrom Lena Helmts
A year has gone by and we would like to review the great development with you: Important projects we completed and our efforts to expand east and west in Canada as well as in the USA
We have had a good year with ComBAR®. Some jobs we have completed this year are: Queens University Reactors, WEP Bridge 15, Barb Road Bridge Rehab, York/Durham Sewer Caissons, Bonnechere Bridge and Canal Bridge. North Channel Bridge has been released and completion is scheduled for 2013. We are looking forward to 2013. The buzz is that the MTO is preparing packages for a number of bridges in a single release. We also heard that epoxy coated rebar will no longer be used by the ministry, which will hopefully open up a new market for GFRP in the next few years.
The regions of Ontario have been very acceptant of GFRP and there is continuous interest for future use. We have been involved in a number of trade shows and presentations held among others in Edmonton, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto. It’s great to see Ontario engineers moving to improve on what has been accepted in the past.
Schoeck Canada has been expanding their focus and looking at other provinces. Start was a review of our eastern provinces. The population is considerably less than Ontario, but we do see future in large infrastructure projects. Route 1 Gateway is a large project that has been completed from Moncton, New Brunswick to St. Stephen Maine, and now connects Canada to the USA with a super highway. We will continue to monitor the provinces and their development.
In the Northwestern region of Ontario GFRP is a major component of plan and design efforts. Most bridges are pre-cast elements with GFRP reinforcement and the Ministry is highly satisfied with the performance of them. We have paid more attention to this part of the province in 2012 and quoted a couple of projects with a promising outlook. Another focal point was the expansion west into other provinces of Canada. Manitoba, being Ontario’s neighbour and also the home of two large pre casters, was examined as potential market for ComBAR. The province has been on the forefront of using GFRP in their bridges in the early years, but was set back by major flooding in 2011 and the repair of the damages in 2012. Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation is open towards new technologies and appreciates Schoeck’s efforts to push quality and strength of GFRP reinforcement to the next level. Exploring other potential applications of ComBAR, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was our destination to find out more about Potash mining and to educate local engineers about ComBAR. The mines provide a highly corrosive environment and we are positive that GFRP would be a great solution to their current concerns. We continue our journey west and will examine opportunities in Alberta and British Columbia in 2013.
2012 has proven to be the most productive year ever in our efforts in the USA market. We have finally broken the dead lock of bidding and had the opportunity to bid at least half a dozen projects. We also have gained much respect in the DOT community with Pilot Programs in the works with Michigan, Washington State, and a possible sponsorship of a Federal Highway Event in 2013. We recently have discovered an opportunity to do a White Paper presentation for the PreCast Institue (PCI) which Dritan is working on, as well as follow up visits this month in Seattle Washington, and Salem Oregon. While the future is becoming brighter there is still a lot of work ahead.
Thanks to all the team in both Canada and Baden Baden for their tireless support and encouragement.
Angelo Koichopolos, Domenico Pace, Lena Helmts