Beating the weather to repair historic Kingston stone wall

Stone wall

Just in time for the end of "masonry season" come the final touches on the two-year restoration of the stone wall surrounding Kingston, Ontario's 17th century garrison, Fort Frontenac.

Masonry work typically takes place between April and October, when temperatures are above 5°C and the mortar will not freeze, explains DCC's Ron Bachelder, Coordinator, Construction Services. Otherwise, expensive artificial heating is necessary.

For the 319‑m Fort Frontenac wall—built sometime before 1845—the DCC/DND project team prioritized areas of the 24‑inch‑thick wall that had collapsed or were bulging. New vertical and horizontal anchors tie the layers of rebuilt local limestone and rubble fill together.

Beating the weather was just one of the challenges the team had to overcome, Bachelder adds.

Part of the wall is beside a sidewalk, so a pedestrian bypass had to be set up in a vehicle lane on the road. This required consultation with officials from CFB Kingston, the city and the local police. To ensure the safety of passing drivers and pedestrians, and the workers, the scaffolding (now on the sidewalk) was surrounded with fencing, concrete barriers and signage. This all had to be all set up and taken down overnight at the start and end of each masonry season.

To ensure a prompt start to the work, DCC worked with the Client-Partner to quickly set up the contracts in the spring of 2019, including using a quick response tender for the traffic diversion.

Bachelder credits a solid understanding between DCC and the contractor for the ultimate success of the project. This is important, he explains, because masonry jobs often change as the extent of the required repairs becomes apparent during work.

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