A Modern Infrastructure for an Iconic Plaza
A variety of Hamilton Kent products contribute to the modernization of Plaza St-Hubert in Montreal
Like every world-class city, Montreal has its iconic places – areas of the city where its heart and soul are captured. Plaza St-Hubert is one of those places. A 2-kilometer street teeming with retail shops, boutiques, pubs and restaurants, St-Hubert Street has always maintained a commercial presence in Montreal, even as newer, more fashionable areas have emerged over the years. But St-Hubert Street is now undergoing a renaissance and a rebuilding. And like most serious rebuilding projects, it starts with infrastructure.
James Fuoco, C.E.T., has a long history with St-Hubert. A Hamilton Kent territory manager, he grew up shopping and spending time on the street. With porticos jutting out from the shops and covering the sidewalks on both sides of the street, you could walk St-Hubert on a rainy summer day and not get wet. Like an outdoor mall. It’s a place that holds many memories for Montrealers.
“It’s like a buffet of different types of stores,” he said. “You could find anything and everything on that street. My wife bought her wedding dress on that street. I bought a lot of furniture there when I first got married.”
So, when the city decided to reconfigure the old shopping district to make it more amenable to pedestrians and give it a fresh look, it was fitting that Hamilton Kent would play a key role in the modernization.
The first phase of the multi-year project would be to replace the underground infrastructure, with work starting in 2018 and continuing down the street through 2019.
It was major upgrade, since the city was replacing decaying 100-year-old brick manholes and the accompanying century-old pipes with modern precast structures featuring HK’s cast-in watertight seals.
“In Quebec, all manhole structures and lateral connections are required to use a cast-in type of rubber connector,” Fuoco said. That code made it a natural for Hamilton Kent’s SuperSeal™ gaskets and connectors. Hamilton Kent worked closely with a major Quebec-based precast manufacturer, supplying a variety of products for the $55 million revitalization project.
For the sanitary sewer mains, the Tylox® SuperSeal™ gaskets were installed on reinforced concrete pipes ranging in size from 42-in. (1050 mm) to 60-in. (1500 mm) diameters. The manhole structures down the street vary in diameter from 48” (1,200 mm) to 96” (2,400 mm) and were fitted with WT+ Cast-in Connectors for all connections from the sanitary sewer mains.
For the PVC pipes, which emerge from the 400-plus shops to the sewer system under the middle of the street, the Tylox® XT Connectors ensure a watertight sanitary connection. It’s more modern technology for the new Plaza, with the XT’s push-fit connectors eliminating the need to make a mortared connection on the jobsite. The HK connectors require no special tools, create a watertight seal and can be immediately backfilled.
In addition to the pipe and manhole gaskets, HK provided its Kent Seal™ butyl rubber rope gasket to seal the utility/pumping boxes that carry the gas, electrical lines and water main pumps underground.
“So we’ll have a nice clean wire-free street,” Fuoco said. The variety of uses showcases the wide range of sealing products that HK can provide to a major construction project. When you add it all up, “it was a pretty vast amount of Hamilton Kent products used for this project,” he said.
The work progressed down the 2-kilometer street through 2020. With the underground portion expected to wrap up in 2020, the above-ground work of laying down concrete pavers for sidewalks and making other cosmetic upgrades will take place through 2021.
When finished, Plaza St-Hubert will have a modern, more pedestrian feel, with wider sidewalks, a new awning that lets in more light, and limited parking on one side of the street.
Like many cities, Montreal is transitioning away from heavy reliance on auto traffic to a more walkable local feel.
Plaza St-Hubert “was always a blue-collar street,” Fuoco said. “It’s survived all these years because it is in a more densely populated area of the city. Now, the area has had a lot of gentrification, and there are a lot of millennials and people moving back into the neighborhood who still want to live on the island of Montreal. They don’t want to be in the suburbs.”
The reconfiguration of the street will make it harder to find parking, so it has been controversial, but when it is completed, the revitalization project will ensure that the Plaza remains a vital part of the city.
“St-Hubert Street is well-prepared for the 21st Century in that regard,” Fuoco said.