Canada : Parliament Hill barriers

Millions planned for Parliament Hill barriers, documents show

BY THANDI FLETCHER

Public Works and Government Services Canada is seeking bids from design consultants for a vehicle barriers project. The winning bid will design barricades to better control vehicle access to the federal legislative grounds.

“The intent of this project is to construct vehicle access control barriers (ie) bollards, at all Parliament Hills vehicle and pedestrian entry points, while respecting the heritage characteristics of the Hill and maintaining a public atmosphere,” the request for proposal reads.

The barriers will be in the form of bollards, or short vertical posts, some of which will be fixed and some retractable.

The barriers must be designed to suit the heritage characteristics of the parliamentary buildings.

They also must not impede the welcoming mood of the national historic site, the proposal states.

“Hundreds of thousands of people visit Parliament Hill each year,” the proposal reads. “As such, an open, public atmosphere is to be maintained, while balancing the protection of parliamentarians and citizens who visit the area.”

At the moment, there are five gates open to vehicle traffic on the Hill, although each is controlled to limit entry only to those authorized. A number of other gates are open to pedestrians only.

The access points are controlled in a variety of ways, from wrought iron gates to concrete blocks. One gate, called the Vehicle Screening Facility, has security officers who screen non-routine vehicles, while another has a single RCMP vehicle and officer to authorize entry.

After the barriers are constructed, vehicles will only be able to access the Hill through the Vehicle Screening Facility and the Elgin Street Gate, which currently blocks traffic with two large concrete blocks.

The estimated construction cost is $7.6 million. With HST, the total cost is expected to be about $8.58 million.

The largest expenditure, at $1.6 million, will be on electrical work, while $1.27 million will be spent on the bollards themselves.

Another $600,000 will go towards the masonry, $200,000 for light standards, $100,000 for landscaping and $800,000 for site work, including rock excavation, among other costs.

An additional $1 million contingency fund has been budgeted for unforeseen emergencies or design shortfalls.

The proposal makes no direct mention as to why the barriers are needed, but it appears to be for security reasons.

“All bollard systems must be supplied and installed to meet significant physical impact loads,” the proposal states.

The project is a component of Public Works and the Parliamentary Partners’ Long Term Vision and Plan for the Parliamentary Precinct, a strategy to rehabilitate the heritage buildings that make up Parliament Hill and to construct more buildings.

Within the plan, security is also a main theme.

“Security of parliamentarians and the buildings and grounds on Parliament Hill is a core element of the LTVP,” the proposal explains.

The deadline to submit bids is Feb. 8, and construction is expected to be complete by March 2013.

A Public Works department spokesman could not provide comment before the time of publication.

from vancouversun.com

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