Another obstacle for Royal University Hospital (RUH) parkade traffic was removed today.

The vehicle ramp next to the Saskatoon Cancer Centre on Level P3 was reopened today, after it had been closed earlier this month to support the last piece of repair work required for this portion of the parkade. 

The vehicle ramp next to the Saskatoon Cancer Centre on Level P3 was reopened today.

The vehicle ramp next to the Saskatoon Cancer Centre on Level P3 was reopened today.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel for RUH parkade repairs,” explains Dan DeForrest, project manager. “The vehicle ramp closure allowed crews to apply a traffic coating to stalls in this area as the final component to repairs for this portion. Today, we were able to re-open stalls in this area that have been closed for a long time.”

Repairs to the parkade – a $10 million project – have been underway since last winter. Portions within the 1984-built parkade structure had been closed as a precautionary measure in May 2013 due to early warning signs of structural issues. These issues were found following initial inspections related to site preparation for the construction of the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan (CHS).Over 300 stalls had been closed with temporary reinforcements put in place on levels 1, 2 and 3 to help reinforce the vertical structure.

Portions of the RUH parkade have been closed down since 2013 as a precautionary measure.

Portions of the RUH parkade have been closed down since 2013 as a precautionary measure.

“The repair work involves fixing steel cables, reinforcing concrete and replacing the surface membrane,” explains DeForrest. “Similar to a jigsaw puzzle, crews have been working through levels one to three in the parkade, closing off sections to remove the traffic coating, expose and repair the steel cables and reinforce the concrete. The contractor has been first strengthening around the support columns and in the areas where we know today reinforcements are needed.”

Crews continue to work through RUH parkade like a jigsaw puzzle to systematically repair the steel cables and reinforce the concrete.

Crews continue to work through RUH parkade like a jigsaw puzzle to systematically repair the steel cables and reinforce the concrete.

However, there is a word of caution for those using the parkade. The completion of this work doesn’t mean there won’t still be congestion and disruptions associated with repairs. Crews are still working on different portions of Level P3, particularly in the centre. Also, this fall, crews will need to close down the internal vehicle ramps to support the repair work needed in those areas.

Repairs continue in the centre portions of the RUH Parkade on Level P3, causing some congestion.

Repairs continue in the centre portions of the RUH Parkade on Level P3, causing some congestion.

“The contractor, through a systematic process, has been examining key points in the structure by removing the concrete, checking cables and reinforcing and repairing where needed,” says DeForrest. “We need to do this work around the ramps and recognize this will make the parkade chaotic, but it is a complex process that takes time. After steel cables and reinforcement repairs are completed to one area, the concrete has to be put back in place and a top coating applied to protect the surface.”

But Saskatoon Health Region’s Parking Services remains optimistic that the light at the end of the repair tunnel will grow brighter as vehicle traffic increases and winter comes closer.

“The good news is, even as crews work on those internal ramps in the fall, the repairs will be reaching a point where more and more parkade stalls are going to be re-opened for us,” says David Yanciw, assistant manager for Parking Services with Saskatoon Health Region. “It will be incremental each time, but by late fall, we hope to see the parkade will be looking much different than it does today. We appreciate this hasn’t been easy for our staff and physicians, patients and families and thank everyone for their continued patience with our parking challenges here.”

Patients and families, along with staff and physicians, driving to the RUH site are being reminded to give themselves extra time to find parking and follow detour signs.

In addition to parkade repairs underway, other construction activity around the site is affecting roads and traffic flow, including Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan construction. Construction of the new maternal and children’s hospital is expected to be completed in 2019.