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Coquitlam crews stop water leaks at construction site where shoring wall collapsed

Nobody was injured when the shoring wall collapsed last Wednesday
A screen grab from a video capturing the collapse Wednesday of a shoring wall at a condo construction site in Coquitlam.

Coquitlam public works crews had to stop water leaks at an excavation site where a shoring wall collapsed last Wednesday, Nov. 29.

In a statement on a special website created to update residents about the ongoing repair work at 500 Foster Ave., where Amacon Construction Ltd. is building a new condo tower, the city said its crews were called to the site last Friday, Dec. 1, to isolate the leaks and close the appropriate valves to stop water from entering the deep excavation.

"City workers continue to monitor the situation," the statement explained, adding fill is being added to stabilize the site and allow work to repair the wall to continue.

The repairs have necessitated the closure of Foster Avenue between North Road and Whiting Way as well as overnight construction. The 157 transit bus that serves the area has also been rerouted.

The failure of the shoring wall where the company is building a 41-storey condo tower called Vue, occurred early last Wednesday evening but didn’t come to light until Thursday, Nov. 30, after a witness posted a video to social media that showed giant cracks in the concrete giving way to release a torrent of soil and rock into the excavation. Nobody was injured.

WorkSafeBC said its officers attended the site and are conducting an investigation.

On Friday, the city said it will require the developer to hire an outside geotechnical engineer to supervise repairs.

Doug Vance, Coquitlam’s building permits manager, said while the city usually relies on developers to take the lead on issues related to their construction sites, it felt additional oversight for the Foster Avenue site would ensure the protection of the city’s infrastructure and the surrounding neighbourhood.

According to the structural engineering blog, The Structural World, a shoring wall is a temporary structure that is used to support a deep excavation in its early stages to hold soil back and keep workers safe while a permanent foundation is being built.