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Ontario Construction News staff writer
Police and Metrolinx say a worker was killed east of Toronto after being pinned under a rail car on Saturday evening.
Durham Regional Police say a 41-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene in Pickering.
He was working with a team conducting construction and maintenance work on behalf of Go-Transit operator Metrolinx at the 117-year-old Rouge Hill bridge.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour is investigating the incident east of the Rouge Hill GO station.
“This is absolutely devastating news, our first priority is of course the safety of everyone that works on the railroad, and we are very thankful to all the first responders for their quick and diligent work at the scene,” said Metrolinx spokesman Matt Llewellyn.
Lakeshore East GO train service was suspended over the weekend while the repair work was being conducted.
The man was a worker of a company contracted to Metrolinx that was doing work with ballast vehicles along the tracks east of Rouge Hill GO Station, on the Lakeshore East rail line.
As with all incidents, Metrolinx and its contractor are fully cooperating with all investigators.
The bridge was originally slated for full replacement as part of the larger GO Expansion project, but since it is listed as a provincial heritage property Metrolinx decided to rehabilitate instead of replacement.
The structure has heritage value because of its ashlar stone masonry substructure and steel deck truss superstructure. This means the stone that supports the bridge on either side of the river, and the steel structure that supports the train tracks that run across the bridge.
It is one of a few remaining railway bridges in Toronto and its surrounding area that features this characteristic early railway bridge construction.
The rehabilitation work is started this fall and will extend the life of the Rouge River bridge by another 20 years. The project includes:
- Repairs to the bridge’s superstructure (the part of the bridge that that carries the load from one side to the other), including: blast cleaning and coating all structural steel and steel surfaces; repairing, strengthening and replacing the structural steel members that are used to support the bridge’s structure.
- Repairs to the substructure including: masonry stone repairs for the abutments and piers, crack injections and concrete patch repairs, grout repairs at the approach span bearing pedestals and bearing replacement.
- Replacing timber deck ties, track, and relocating and protecting existing communication utilities. The deck of the bridge is the actual bridge surface that is used for the train crossing.
The bridge approaches will have a new approach slab (the part of the bridge that ensures a smooth transition from roadway to bridge) added, retaining walls replaced, as well as 25 metres of track on each side replaced.
The rehabilitation project is scheduled to wrap up next spring.