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HOPA outlines long list of Hamilton port projects for 2023

Don Wall
HOPA outlines long list of Hamilton port projects for 2023
DON WALL - The Hamilton port offers 1,000 acres of space for 140 tenants who ship by rail, sea and road.

Hamilton-Oshawa Port Au-thority (HOPA) executive Jonathan Wetselaar delivered the goods at a recent Hamilton construction forum, outlining 11 projects large and small that are slated to go to tender in the first half of this year in addition to several engineering jobs.

Highlights of Wetselaar’s presentation to guests attending the Hamilton-Halton Construction Association’s Construction Forecast included a Hamilton Harbour Maintenance Dredging project, a rehabilitation job of Pier 14 Wharf and construction of a Pier 15 Steel Transload Facility.

Wetselaar, HOPA’s director of engineering and maintenance, explained that HOPA is a pay-as-you-go agency, establishing a plan for capital projects based on revenues except for occasional extra funding contributed by the federal government through its National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF).

In recent years with steel cargo declining and then the pandemic, capital spending was down but lately increases in agri-food shipping and generally strong economic activity have enabled HOPA to boost its capex to $43.5 million this year — but amidst rising costs.

“We’ve seen significant upward trends in the price of things and also the amount of time that it takes to do things,” Wetselaar said in an interview. “We’ve unfortunately had some jobs that have been deferred because of that, but we’re starting to see things coming back down to something that’s a little bit more palatable.

“We’re being very, very careful on where we invest, making sure that it’s strategic.”

HOPA’s 140 tenants ship by sea, rail and road. Spending on building and other structures takes up 46 per cent of the authority’s capital spending.

The dredging job, Wetselaar said, is generally required every 15 years or so and involves removing accumulated sediment. The job is going to tender imminently, he said, and will cover almost all berths in the port as well as the approach to the Burlington Canal.

Construction will take place in Q2 and Q3 this year.

Another notable project has developed as a result of routine inspection of Pier 14, which is a big workhorse for HOPA, Wetselaar said, handling incoming steel and project cargo such as tunnel boring machines.

“Our routine, detailed condition assessments have indicated it’s in pretty rough shape and was built back in the 1950s, showing some significant signs of deterioration,” he said.

The rehab plan will involve engineering in 2023 to undertake detailed design and phase the job over several years. Reconstruction of 725 linear feet will be required. Then 2024 will see the first construction phase.

The engineering RFP will go out in Q2.

The Pier 15 Steel Transload Rail job will involve construction of 60,000 square feet of covered storage for steel coils. The construction contract has already been awarded to G.S. Wark, a frequent participant in HOPA work, and construction will start this quarter. There is also a rail contract tender to be issued in Q2. The project has NTCF funding.

Later this year, perhaps early fall Wetselaar said, a fourth major project will come to tender, the Eastport Boulevard Extension. A tenant has signed a lease but major roadwork and infrastructure is required including utilities and new rail access to the property line.

One other Hamilton project for which a tender is expected in the first quarter is the West Wharf Resurfacing job. Q2 construction tenders will be issued for EV charging stations, Pier 11 rail reconstruction, the Wentworth/Niagara Road connection, Pier 26 rail, Fisherman’s Pier development, roof replacement for 500 Sherman Ave. and West Wharf electrical upgrades.

An engineering RFP for the Sherman roof job is to be issued in Q1, as is an RFP for the Marine Structures Condition Assessment project.

The Oshawa port was amalgamated with Hamilton in 2019 and Wetselaar said HOPA is still in the process of documenting infrastructure needs and preparing a capital plan. But keep watching, he said, at some point there will be a lot of work in that eastern basin.

For this year, there is resurfacing and stormwater management work to be done on the east pier. The job has been designed and it’s ready for imminent tender, once Transport Canada funding is confirmed. Construction will take place in the spring.

Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN

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