CWB concrete facility designed for fast load-out

Colonsay, Sask.,facility is geared to load 1,600 tonnes per hour, or four minutes per car

Construction of CWB’s new concrete grain elevator at Colonsay, Sask., is on schedule.

Facility manager Ross Affleck said the new elevator, located 65 kilometres east of Saskatoon, is on track to receive its first grain deliveries this fall.

The elevator is being built by FWS Group of Winnipeg, which specializes in slip form concrete construction. Building a new elevator is complex, costly and time-consuming.

First, an appropriate location is identified. After that, geo-technical surveys are conducted to determine the site’s load bearing capacity.

That information is used to calculate the number of piles that will be required to support the structure as well as the depth to which piles must be sunk.

The Colonsay elevator is one of four new elevator construction projects underway for CWB. The others are at Bloom, Man., St. Agathe, Man., and Pasqua, Sask., just outside of Moose Jaw.

CWB is expected to announce additional projects in the coming months.

At the Colonsay location, several hundred piles were sunk to a depth of 20 metres or more.

With the piles in place, a boot pit is installed to a depth of approximately 10 metres, supported by piles and encased in concrete for stability.

After that, a main mat is poured, which serves as a base for the entire facility.

Slip forms are then set in place and the concrete facility is poured.

The slip pour at Colonsay started in late October and continued, around-the-clock, for seven days.

It involved 60 workers and 100 hydraulic jacks, which raised the slip form six inches at a time.

Sorage capacity at the Colonsay facility is estimated at 42,000 tonnes, including 17,000 tonnes of concrete storage and three steel bins that hold more than 8,000 tonnes each.

The Colonsay facility will also include a loop track that can accommodate 134-car unit trains without the need to break up trains or separate individual cars for loading.

The facility will have one of the fastest load-out rates of any commercial grain handling facility in Western Canada.

Maximum load-out speed is estimated at 60,000 bushels, or 1,600 tonnes per hour.

“These are going to be the fastest rail car loading facilities on the Prairies,” said Gord Flaten, CWB’s vice-president of grain procurement.

‘We expect to be able to load 134 cars in certainly less than 12 hours and possibly less than 10 hours, which is a little less than four minutes per car.”

Contact brian.cross@producer.com

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