Wednesday 21 December 2022

Instructions for Safe Urination in Extreme Cold


 Guidelines for Safe Urination in Extreme Cold During Work Hours ( Male/Outdoors )

1. Ensure that you have some feeling in your hands and fingers. This will ensure safe manipulation of the zipper and penile member.

2. Check the immediate area to assess the proper and safe location to commence release

3. When it is safe to do so, manually or visually check that penile member is actually protruding from all layers of clothing before commencing to urinate ( pee )

4. Failure to achieve maximum protrusion of the penile member beyond all layers of clothing will result in frozen crust on outerwear and possible staining. Unpleasant odour can occur upon thawing. This can cause social isolation in warmer environments ( bars, saloons, pubs etc )

5. Warning! Do not ask a co-worker for visual confirmation that your penile member has achieved sufficient protrusion.
Common risks are..
a. Assault
b. Embarrassment
c. Pointing and laughing for no good reason
d. Criminal charges
e. a date

6. Before commencing to release the urine stream ( pee ) check these conditions
a. Wind at your back
b. Feet properly and firmly set and spaced to ensure stability, and to minimize sprayage onto boots.
c. Check the proposed urine stream landing area for hazards. Possible hazards could include, your lunch pail, open machine gears and high voltage electrical lines.

7. Maintain full control of penile member at all times. Ensure that penile member does not retract back into pants and undergarments during active urination ( peeing ) If you are wearing a long jacket or coat, check to see that active urination ( pee ) is not being placed on the aforementioned garment. If a loss of control of the penile member occurs, cease all urination operations ( peeing ) and adjust as required.

8. Do not rush, but work efficiently to minimize sensitive penile skin to the extreme cold. Risk of frostbite to the penile member is a very real and potentially life altering risk.

9. If your co-worker at this time also requires urination, please observe these basic rules
a. Stand at least arms length apart.
b. Wind is at your back to prevent urination stream ( pee ) from being blown onto co-worker
c. Refer to safety tip #5, regarding visual confirmation issues
d. "Crossing swords" with your co-workers urine stream ( pee ) while urinating ( peeing ) on company time will not be tolerated. This is an unsafe and dangerous practice.

10. Upon completion of urination ( peeing ) Carefully place penile member back under all layers of clothing. This can be a challenge if the extreme cold has caused you to lose the feeling in your fingers. Take extra care to re-insert the penile member fully and completely under all layers. Double check that penile member is fully retracted before raising zipper of pants. If penile member becomes entangled in the pants zipper, carefully reverse the direction of the zipper to remove the skin of the penile member from the aforementioned zipper. If extreme discomfort ( pain ) and/or spurting blood is noted at this time, please try to resolve the problem yourself before asking co-workers for help.
Note: there is not a co-worker on the earth that will help to get the penile member unstuck at this point. Getting to professional medical help is your only option at this point. Try not to bleed on the company vehicle interior. Try not to cry out or whimper with too much enthusiasm as it affects the moral of other workers.

Thank you for taking the time to be a better employee and person.

Requests for the next newsletter subject "How to disable the company vehicle GPS locator system on Friday and Saturday nights" has been forwarded to management for approval

Saturday 17 December 2022

The Davis Bay Sea Serpent

The Davis Bay Sea Serpent.....

I spent a lot of my life in and around Davis Bay, there are going to be several stories that feature this area.
 In the winter of 1985, I was bored. I owned a rinky- dink little auto towing business that just squeaked by financially. It was a ton of fun....police calls, repo jobs for GMAC, pulling cars and trucks out the weirdest places....but not much money and a ton of time on my hands.

 One day in the local paper, I spied a story about an old fella in the neighborhood who swears he saw a sea serpent. So like I said I'm bored, I have some time on my hands and I think to myself. Why not? If he wants so badly to see a sea monster, why not give him one?
 And the game is on. The idea is to build a fake sea monster and place it out into Georgia Strait for all to see. And for a few brief moments, a legend will live. And the old guy will have his beast.
 I sketched out some ideas for a low budget design  ( having time but no know, the usual )...but I also required something that would temporarily fool onlookers just enough for at least a double take. Having lived next to the ocean my entire life I'd had seen stumps and trees that floated by on the tide that looked like monsters. The whales, sea lions and such that swam by on the surface also fed into the old brain pan for design ideas. Finally after a few piles of paper and pencil scratchings, I had something that I thought was feasible. It called for a few sheets of the cheapest plywood that I could find, a sheet of black poly and a stove pipe. 

 There's only one place to go for monster building parts, and that's back to the building supplies , that very same one that carried the materials for "The Great Kite Disaster". This is thirteen or fourteen years later mind you, and I  actually worked at this particular business when I got out of school. So when I cruised the aisles for monster parts it was easy and stress free this time around. I picked out two sheets of OSB plywood because it was dirt cheap ( 1985 ) , a roll of heavy duty black plastic, six feet of single wall stovepipe and a stovepipe elbow...

 I carted everything back home, confident that this was going to be a ton of fun, win lose or draw. Now the center-piece of the plan lay in where I was living at the time. I had rented a house in Davis Bay beside the highway with the ocean just across the road. It sits between Davis Bay Road and Whitaker Road almost perfectly in the middle of the two. It belonged to my friend Phil Makow, who was off on other adventures and not using the house. It was a great old funky place that Phil had renovated in a kind of a rustic manner. The bonus for me on this occasion was the big french doors that opened on to the low deck, which also faced the ocean.
 I may have forgot to mention my plan to my live in girlfriend at the time, I seem to remember a bit of a fuss when I started bringing monster parts into the front room through the french doors. ( Hey man's don't think I'm gonna do this outside do you? ) 
Moving on now.

 I cleared all the unnecessary stuff from the front room floor...chairs, tables, lamps to make room for the construction of a sea monster right in my living room. Now to be fair, when it came time to cut the wood, I did that out on the deck. This was a big step up from the time that I trimmed a Christmas tree with a chainsaw inside the house. ( alcohol was involved and it was really funny at the time ). 
 The plan went like this. I built a flat oval shaped base out of the plywood and some two by two and miscellaneous odds and ends that were laying around ( Phil, I might owe you a couple two by fours ). On top of this long oval base I constructed a large rib cage, essentially the "hump" of the monster. At one end I fastened the stove pipe at about a forty-five degree angle, creating the framework for the neck. On the end of the stove pipe went the pipe elbow, after I finished bashing it into more of a monster head shape. So now I have twelve foot long monster frame plus the neck sticking out, sitting in my front room. 
 My girlfriend must have had a lot of errands to do that night because she stayed out for a really long time, which was good in it's own interruptions and more room to work.

 The final act of the 'in house" construction phase was to wrap the frame in the black plastic sheeting  to form the skin of the beast. This involved lots of staple gun work and black tape when it came time to do the neck and head area. I attached some yellow eyes to the head and just be extra cheeky, I added a set of small horns on the top of the head for more of a sinister look. The last chore was installing an eight foot tail to the back of the beast and tapered the plastic skin off the back off the hump down to the tail. By the time I did this, the monster creation didn't fit in the house anymore, so I had to open the french doors and let it protrude out on to the deck. So far, so good.
  Now we are at around midnight. The girlfriend is home and not at all pleased. There is a wood and plastic monster in the front room. The french doors are open to make room for the beast, and the winter cold is blowing in faster than the fireplace can heat it.  There are tools, staples, tape and wood  and beer bottles all over the floor. 
And the dishes aren't done.
 Now you would assume at this point in the game that I would have conjured up a plan for how to launch this creation. After all , it has to get off the deck and across the yard. Then somehow go undetected as we cross Highway 101. And then if that wasn't fun enough, get it across the logs on the beach, then launch it out onto the ocean.
 Let's just pause our story here now for a minute. Just a short rest break. Just a bit more. Take a big breath and relax, doesn't that feel good?
 I had no freaking clue how all this was supposed to happen. I didn't put that part in the equation when I started.
None, no ideas.
 So step one, work with what you have. Helpers, check. In that I have my girlfriend and her young daughter to help me lug this thing to the ocean. Crossing the Highway 101 with a sea monster, easy as pie. Do it at four a.m, when there's no traffic and no one else in the neighborhood is up. Launching is a bit more challenging. I have to get it into the water without damaging the plywood and plastic beast, and then somehow get it out from shore a few hundred yards. The answer lay in the green canoe that Phil had left out behind the shed. I would pull the creation out with the canoe and anchor it in place and wait for the sunrise.
What could possibly go wrong?
 I laid  out the plan to my girlfriend, she was very impressed, so impressed that she couldn't speak right way, obviously dazzled by the brilliance of the whole thing. I fell into bed with a mixture of happy exhaustion and exhilaration.
 The alarm went off at four. I had no idea what it was all about. Then it came back to me, I had a mission. It might not have been a mission like the Blues Brothers went on, but pretty close. The very next thing that my sleepy mind noticed was that the weather had changed. The wind had come up,  you could hear it in the trees outside. It was raining and blowing and it was February at four a.m.
The wind and rain were coming in through the open french doors as I went out on to the deck. Across the road I could hear the waves crashing onto the beach. 
I hoofed it across the road  to go look. The wind was pushing the waves up and they were hitting the beach with regular and punishing force. I saw my window of opportunity slipping away, the benefit of surprise being flushed away. I made my decision right there.
 I'm gonna do it!
 I woke my girlfriend to tell her the news, she looked out the window and said I was nuts for even considering the idea. Possibly, I agreed, but I still needed help.
 Now we have to pause here again just for a second for a different reason this time. Despite the lunacy of the project and the risks, my girlfriend agreed to help. So I just wanted to stop here for a bit to recognize that special moment. Not only that, but we ended up needing her daughter's help to make sure the tail section doesn't get destroyed on the way to the beach. 
To continue now.
We start out.
And then immediately stop.
It's too heavy to move, we can't pick it up.
Crap! one more time.
 Moving on to desperate measures, we are forced to drag it out of the house and across the yard in the rain and wind. My significant other inquires often about chances of success, given the weather and surprising weight of the monster, because after all, this thing needs to float. We stop at the side of Highway 101 and listen for possible traffic coming around the corner, but the wind is blowing too hard and we can't hear a thing. You would think that that would be a great warning sign .

It wasn't. 
 My crew dragged the beast across the highway without getting run over and on to the beach. The stress on the delicate framework threatened to destroy the whole thing. It tweaked and groaned and flexed and bent like a wood and plastic rag doll. It was pitch black, raining and blowing.
I am so screwed.
 My girlfriends daughter asks if her part is done and can she go back to bed. Yes, is the answer and she scoots back home. The only smart one in the bunch.  
 I went back to get the green canoe and paddle and scrounged up some rope. I lugged all this to the launch area. Like I said, the ultimate plan was to tow the thing away from shore a fair distance so that the details of the construction weren't obvious, and then throw out an anchor to secure it in place. 

 Easy, except for the the onshore wind and waves and the weight of the monster. I  rigged an anchor line to the beast and attached some old chunks of scrap metal for an anchor. ( If those were parts for your truck, Phil, sorry about that ) then I took some of the rope as a tow line from the back of the canoe to the front of the monster. Then it got interesting. The wind was blowing so hard and the waves were so big that I couldn't even get the canoe off the beach. It kept going sideways and tipping, always slamming back into where I started. 
This would have been a great time to call the whole thing off.
But no.
I decided that the best thing to do was  to wait for a gap in the waves and then set out and get away from shore as quickly as possible. 
So I waited.
It didn't look good. The rollers came out of the dark and crashed on to the rocks with relentless regularity. Finally there was a small opening, I aimed the canoe out and pushed off, struggling  to get balance. Before I was even settled in the seat I had to start paddling like a maniac to keep from getting blown back to shore. Out I went, soaked to the skin and paddling for all I was worth. I had left the monster/contraption on the beach partly in the water, ready to go. It was getting badly mauled by the waves and my girlfriend was knee deep in the winter ocean, struggling to keep it pointed outwards. The roar of wind and waves kept me from hearing what she was yelling at me, but I'm pretty sure that it was words of encouragement. I got to the end of the tow rope and really started to dig in with the paddle. 
 The moment of truth, it all comes down to this. I paddle hard. Hunched over, with waves breaking over the bow and spraying over me. It's a freezing cold winter morning, it's four thirty by now, the wind and the rain are pounding against every stroke.

Nothing. No movement. The beast refuses to leave the beach. I pull from the side and dig in hard once more . Nothing. My girlfriend is yelling something at me again, I can't tell if it's good or bad.
 I'm screwed.
It won't come off the beach. I make the decision to head back to shore. The wind and the waves push hard from behind, as I get closer to the beach, I can tell it's going to get ugly. The breaking surf and wind rolled the canoe sideways and I crashed into the shore  and nearly flipped upside down in the process. 
 So now I'm soaked and cold, my girlfriend is wet and cold and we have gotten nowhere.
New plan.
 The new plan is to get the fake sea serpent pushed out into the surf so that it is floating and therefore easier to tow out. Well, do you remember the wind and waves that just caused my canoe crash? They're still there. Regardless,we're fully committed to being wet and cold, pushing and struggling, falling at times to our knees against the oncoming waves.

 I guess that by now, the ocean gods had stopped laughing so hard and decided to give me a small break in the form of a bit of a slow down in  the weather action. There was a minor lull, just enough to do what needed doing. Finally the beast was afloat!  But who knows for how long? I jumped back into the canoe and paddled hard and furious, trailing the tow rope behind. Out I go into the darkness one more time, determined to have success.  The wind  blows me off course and I drift down the beach too far. I paddle back into position and start pulling with everything I've got. I can't tell if it's moving or not, its too far back behind me and if I stop to look, I go backwards. Finally it feels right, it's following me, emboldened I try even harder to get it away from the breaking surf and into better conditions. Out we go, but how far do I need to go? If I go too far the anchor line won't be long enough to reach the bottom, if I'm not out far enough, it could get pulled back into the surf and destroyed.
 I make a wild ass guess out of desperation and toss the weights overboard,  watching the yellow rope go zinging over the side. I have no way of knowing if the anchoring is successful and by this time I don't really care. I turn the green canoe towards shore and head in. Like everything else, easier said than done. The wind and current have pushed me southeast a few hundred yards while I was busy anchoring the monster. I'm too tired to work my way back to my launching point

I crashed the canoe into the beach one more time ( Phil, I think I might still owe you a few bucks for the damage ) I pulled the water filled canoe out of the surf, emptied it out and carried it down the beach. Unknown to me, when I was anchoring the sea serpent, it was so dark and  so far from shore that my girlfriend couldn't see me. I had been out there for a while and she assumed that somehow disaster had struck and that I was out there dead or near dead. I could hear her calling out into the darkness with a panicked tone. I called back, but the wind and waves drowned it out. It wasn't until I got up close that she could hear me calling back. It scared the crap out of the poor girl, when there I was standing on the beach instead surfing back in with the canoe. She gave me a good pummeling to show how happy she was that I was safe ( why do they do that? ) We returned to the house too tired and wet to feel victorious. After drying off, I passed out under the covers almost immediately.

I forgot to set an alarm for the morning, but I woke around seven a bit startled. If you've ever lived in a small town, you know that it has it's rhythms of expected sounds and activities. I lived beside the major highway of the Coast, it's a week day morning, it's a bit after seven a.m. and there is not one car or truck going by. What had startled me out of my sleep was the sound of ....
 I pulled the curtains back and peeked out. There were cars and trucks and buses on the road, but they weren't moving. People were out of their vehicles and heading to the waters edge. The entire highway in both directions had come to a complete standstill.
Holy Shit! I did it, I did it!
That lasted about one second until I went to the french doors and saw several police cars in the traffic and the cops out  and about asking questions. 
Then I came to what senses I had and realized that it was impossible to pin this one on me. I mean really, how would anyone know  that I put a decoy sea serpent out there. And another thing, what would the charges be for something like that? Convinced that I was in the clear, I sauntered across to the beach to mingle with the crowds. One more time the ocean gods smiled upon me that day. The wind and rain were gone, it was as calm as could be. A fog bank had rolled in and sat about two hundred yards offshore. And there my friends, just inside the edge of the fog-bank, partially obscured by the mist, was a real live sea monster. People in the crowd were talking excitedly, traffic was blocked by  all the parked cars
One person yelled out "it moved , it moved!" 
A skeptic called back "it's a stump".
You could tell that people wanted to believe, they badly wanted this to be the day that they saw a sea serpent. 
 As continuing luck would have it, the stove pipe neck was coming loose and it's horned head had as slight up and down bob to it. The only down side to the illusion was the lack of forward motion, but the waves and moving fog-bank kept everyone guessing. It was great to watch and listen to the excited crowd, I almost wished that it was real, so that they could have their wish. 
 The next thing that happened was magic, there is no other  way to say it. The fog-bank drifted towards shore, pushed by a gentle breeze. It enveloped the sea serpent completely and kept on coming. Onlookers strained to keep sight of the mysterious creature. The fog stayed put and refused to co-operate. After just a few lingering minutes, the fog moved back and started to dissipate against the morning sun. And folks, when the fog bank retreated and thinned out, there was no sea serpent, no stump, was gone! Vanished. Floating stumps just don't vanish. Period. People strained to see, but it was gone. They waited a long as they could for it to resurface, but it didn't.

It was over.
The biggest spectacle of recent history in a small corner of the world. The witnesses all had places to be, work , school and such and started to pile into their cars and trucks to get on with their days affairs.
 What had just occurred at the perfect moment, was that all the staples, tape and nails had finally given up. Like a magicians cape, the fog had hidden the break up and subsequent sinking of the Davis Bay sea serpent.   

And as if that all wasn't amazing enough. Ten days later, I would be in Hawaii, in a room full of the strongest human beings on the planet

jos jous at 2:07 PM
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Wednesday 26 August 2015

Rusty Logging Machines and Potato Vodka

A search for the highly recommended Pemberton Distillery, netted a great yard full of mixed ...dead, decrepit and still functioning logging equipment.
On one side of the lane was the industrial building that houses the new-ish booze business, and across the way is the parking area for a local logging contractor.
The Pemberton Distillery inputs are locally sourced ingredients including potatoes, and the output products are numerous....including premium vodka, gin and absinthe. 
Hard to find...worth the effort.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Kiewit Built Defective MSE Retaining Walls on the Sea to Sky Highway


  1. 1.
    imperfect or faulty.

    "complaints over defective goods"

    synonyms:faulty, flawed, imperfect, shoddy, inoperative, malfunctioning, out of order, unsound; More
    in disrepair, broken;
    informalon the blink, on the fritz

    "a defective seat belt"

This going to be a photo and comment post about the Kiewit built MSE ( Mechcanically Stabilized Earth ) walls on the 2010 Sea to Sky highway project.

 Just to keep things simple and move along quickly.

I became curious about the Sea to Sky MSE walls in 2013, after reading about the problems on the CalTrans 405 Freeway project. Kiewit built MSE retaining walls along side the freeway that started to show signs of distress immediately after being built.

I had worked on the S2S project from the beginning in 2006 to 2008 as a blasting superintendent. Our crew did all the rock blasting in preparation for the MSE wall construction. I had a front row seat to all the planning meetings, and the work that followed.

When I went back to visit one of the first MSE walls built in the West Vancouver section of the S2S job, I was shocked at the miserable condition it was in. The interesting part of the wall can only be accessed by a hike down the front that risks life and limb. I knew where to go, because my crew drilled and blasted all the access to the wall site.

Here are some low res images of the original construction from 2006. MOT wall number 9450R, Holding up the Upper Levels section of Hwy99.

Excavating blast rock from the future site of MSE wall 9450R at Upper Levels highway

Foundation work for wall 9450R

The original bridge ( upper left ) was demolished by a contractor when the MSE wall came up to height

Carpenters doing the form work for the foundation of MSE wall 9450R

Foundation work for wall 9450R. Looking west towards approach to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal
This is the hoe-drill, drilling  4 inch holes through the concrete and steel rebar for 10 meter long DCP anchoring bolts. I asked MOT if installing the anti-corrosion coated bolts through jagged steel rebar ends was OK for longevity. They assured me that the construction quality report showed no issues.

If you look along the front edge of  the upcoming wall, you can already see how wonky the alignment is. All MSE construction and inspection manuals say this is the time to go back and remove all out of spec work and start over.

Aerial view of part of MSE wall 9450R with part of the old Upper Levels Highway on the right

"Over compaction" with a 10 ton roller...too close to the outer edge...and too many passes probably caused most of the defects. That galvanized wire grid is what holds the wall together once it gets buried.
 Here are images from trips to the same wall in 2013/2014

Wall 9450R holding up the Upper Levels Highway just before the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal...Leans in and out like a drunken who signed off on this crap, on behalf of the province of BC? Defective MSE wall. 
On average, the specs for bulging and/or "out of plumb" North America...averages between 1/2 and 3/4 inch over a 10 foot straight edge...can we say that it's fairly obvious that Wall 9450R...fails that test in many areas of the wall?

 MSE wall inspection manuals state that "negative batter"...( leaning out ) is not good for the longevity of the wall. It places large stresses where they don't belong...promoting early failure. The horizontal bulges must doing the same thing...over-stressing the wall components.

Colorado DOT specs for MSE concrete wall panel construction

(j) Panel Facing. For walls that support a roadway, the wall layout line at the leveling pad shall be setback and pre-measured with appropriate batter (5 to 8 percent) from the top of the panels according to the offset with respect to the centerline of the road. For walls adjacent to a roadway, the wall layout line at the leveling pad shall be directly offset from the centerline of the road. An overall negative batter (wall face leaning outward) between the bottom and the top of the wall is not allowed. Unless otherwise noted on the plans for battered walls, the final wall face shall be vertical, or have a positive batter of not greater than 5 percent for construction control purpose. The surface of the wall face shall be tested with a 10 foot straightedge laid along the surface in horizontal and vertical directions. Except as necessary for horizontal alignment of the wall, convex deviation of the wall face from the straightedge (belly wall) shall not be allowed, and concave deviation from the straightedge shall be less than ½ inch.


Panel Facing Payment Reductions. In this subsection, a “panel” refers to either a concrete panel or a hybrid unit. Each of the following shall be considered a defect:
  1. Dislocated Panel. A dislocated panel is an individual panel or its corner located outward more than ¼ inch from the adjacent panels.
  2. Cracked Panel. A cracked panel is an individual panel with any visible crack when viewed from a distance equal to the wall height in natural light.
  3. Corner Knock Off. A corner knock-off is a panel with any missing facial corners or architectural edges.
  4. Substandard panel. Substandard panels are concrete panels installed in any wall segments that do not meet the certified values for compressive strength. Each substandard panel counts as one defect.
  5. Oversize Joints. Panels with oversize joints are two adjacent panels that do not meet the required values in subsection (a) 6 E under MATERIALS.
  6. Panels Failing the 10 Foot Straightedge Test. Straightedge test failures are joints that that deviate from even by more than ¼ inch when measured by placing a 10 foot straightedge across the joint.

Defects shared by two adjacent panels such as oversized joint, dislocated panel and panels not passing 10 foot straight edge test will be count as one defect.

In the completed wall, or completed portion of the wall the number of defects, as described above, in each 40 foot section (horizontal or arc length) will be counted. If there are defects, the number of defects in the 40 foot section will be considered for price reduction according to the table below. For panels subjected to price reduction, if the defects are repairable or the overall quality of wall can be improved, with the consent from the Engineer, the Contractor may elect to repair and reduce the percent of price reduction. A walkthrough inspection shall be made as requested by the Contractor before final payment.

No. of Defects in 40 Foot Section
> 5
% Of Price Reduction for that section

When the number of defects exceeds 5, the Engineer will reject the entire wall or portions thereof. The Contractor shall replace the rejected wall at his own expense.

That's me bush-wacking down to the bottom of the wall to get the shots.
The horizontal bulge in wall 9450R is very hard to photograph despite it's size....Doesn't seem to want to show up well. I solved some of that by hanging a plumb line down the wall. The Bulge is amazingly beyond design specifications....yet...there it is.
The BC Ministry of Transportation describes this as merely "cosmetic" 
Horizontal bulge and displaced concrete panels in MSE wall 9450R on Upper Levels Highway ( Hwy 99...Sea To Sky )
Water drainage issues causes many problems...backfill settlement and the introduction of road salt to the steel reinforcing wires behind the wall. In this area of 9450R, the drain water has been bypassing the pipes and running through the wall.

 Gaps between concrete panels in MSE wall 9450R

Add caption

Some sort of dog's breakfast repair going on here during original construction process.
 So, interestingly enough, wall 9450R is not scheduled for repairs. A very nice wall at Pasco getting a rebuild. MOT is jumping up and down claiming that the rebuild is on Kiewit's own dime.

Wall 9471A at Pasco Rd. looks very nice. 

Proper batter ( laid back a bit...and very consistently so ) Nice alignment of concrete panels, even gaps...all looks very good. It also has the job of holding up the new section of the S2S highway.
However, MOT and Kiewit insist that simply by reviewing the paperwork, they discovered that faulty rebar or horizontal straps were only one particular section.

( see below for Sept 8/ 2015 update with link to MOT inspections and communications regarding reasons for Brandywine Falls/ CNRail overpass repairs )

Most of the MSE wall repairs that I have researched in North America, have had obvious external signs of strain. The buckling, bulging or outright collapse has always got the attention of highway engineers.
Of the 219 MSE walls on the 130km long project, this wall was deemed to have invisible defects buried in behind the good looking facing.

Do I have photos of that area under construction? Yes!

 Flash forward to the summer of 2015, and the concrete panel wall 9471A is getting completely rebuilt. The original panels are getting drilled and long soil nails are getting installed ( 10 meters ? I guess )

Then a heavy rebar cage is getting installed in front of  the old facing. Either shotcrete or a formed face will be installed over the rebar cage ( not complete on Aug. 22/ 2015 )

Here is a drawing of a soil nailing set-up ( not too much different from rock bolting )
Shows the drill rig and steel soil nails through the wall and into earth/soil/rock in behind to anchor the wall face

These are July 2015 images

Soil nails driven through the Pasco Rd MSE wall to repair a defect in the buried steel mesh behind the wall.....says MOT spokesperson

Good looking Pasco Rd MSE wall is getting expensive repairs, while the visibly defective 9450R gets nothing. BC MOT says that the problems with 9450R are merely cosmetic and do not affect the expected 75 yr life span.

Ladies and gentlemen...Todd Stone vs some pretty basic questions from Claire Trevena

Next...... Todd Stone and "mitigative work" and defending Kiewit. Note....he gets the number of retaining walls on the project....wrong. There's 219 walls on the S2S highway project.
The Todd Stone drama cont'd and Claire Trevena asks for an independent audit.

 And images from August 2015 MSE wall rebuild

Thick rebar steel cage to support a new concrete facing on the Pasco Rd MSE wall

As an educated guess, I would say the retail cost of repairing the Pasco wall, including inspection, engineering, management, office costs, traffic control, materials is in excess of  2 million bucks
Sept 20/2015 Pasco wall update photos

 End of Sept 20/2015 Pasco update photos

Deformed MSE wire wall on Sea to Sky Highway near the faulty Pasco Road MSE wall.

Perhaps, as Minister Todd Stone and Kiewit would say...this is only a "cosmetic defect." Did we get a price break because we got cosmetically defective work? Why should BC tolerate cosmetically defective work on our major highways?

I would guess that the bent wires in this Sea to Sky MSE wall must be getting stressed by being bent at that angle...will it last the expected 75 yrs? Was it poorly built that way...or has 5 yrs of down pressure pushed it out?

Wall 78 a few hundred meters from Pasco Rd. Overgrown with vegetation. Only a few years old

I'll post more images as the job progresses.

Brandywine Falls area, CN Rail overpass....HWY99 ( Sea to Sky )

I was coming back from a road trip to the interior, and decided to stop and see what was happening here.
Very stealthy setup...hard to see anything from the highway.

Unfortunately for Kiewit and MOT, I was the only guy to stop and get out of my car with a camera.

The "Safety First"..."Don't Walk by an Unsafe Act"...."Nobody Gets Hurt" Kiewit....had left and open excavation on the edge of the roadway.  It was the perfect "gringo trap"....long and deep and full of sharp ends of cut off rebar steel.
So, despite the fact that I wanted to come back with a bigger camera, I decided to alert MOT and PKS to the killer hole.

I'm still waiting for an official response from Kiewit.

The open excavation also held a mystery. 

Why, oh why is steel rebar buried in rocks and dirt??? ( it's supposed to be encased in concrete )

Why does the rebar in the ground look like it was just tossed in there, instead of meticulously laid out???

  Minister Todd Stone said that they were doing some "mitigative work"....well doesn't that look like a total rebuild down there by the tracks? Old concrete sectioned DCP bolts getting wall or wall facing going up.

The entire support system for the rail overpass looks to be getting replaced. Mitigative work....remember that one.

Unrestricted access to an open excavation

A mishmash of rebar buried in dirt and a CN Rail overpass...still waiting for an explanation

Looks like a nice lawsuit sitting there doesn't it?

In the year 2015, this is a pretty dumb move. If a cyclist crashed into that...I can't imagine the millions it would cost to settle the lawsuit.

Complete rebuild of the support structure ( mitigative work )

I've heard from various sources that the original DCP anchors failed due to the voids in the back-fill. Two semi-truck loads of pressure grout failed to fix the issue

  Sept. 7 2015 email from MOT in response to me notifying them of the open excavation and unchallenged access to it. I sent the same photos as you have here.
 Viz screen and concrete "no post" barriers separate the active lane from the edge....but no barriers, tape or signage to prevent walkers and cyclists getting to the open hole and rebar.

My original email to MOT

Hello Deborah
The photos enclosed were taken at 2 pm on Aug 19/ 2015.
The first thing we need to talk about and fix the unprotected/ unmarked hole in the road surface.
Any walker/ hiker or cyclists has unimpeded access to that dangerous and carelessly placed excavation. That's a massive lawsuit just sitting there staring at the contractor and MOT.
So, if that hole and pile of rebar exists there this a.m. then push the panic button now.
A review and punishment is in order for that new low in unprofessional work.
1. Bizarre, that we are looking at steel rebar that was embedded in dirt and rocks.
That pile of rebar was cut from what was in the " ground" and discarded on the road surface.
The rebar that remains in the "ground" ...looks like it was dumped there, rather than carefully placed according to engineering specs.
2. Looking from the roadway, down to the railway level...
The removal of sections of the "new" abutment, and cutting of rebar.
Looks like new dcp bolts are currently being installed.
A new wall, or wall facing is being installed.
Quite extensive repairs to five year old work, I would say
Question... Is the other support wall ( other side of track) going to get the same treatment?
Question. If Kiewit can't " build it right the first time"... and leaves hazards on public roads in defiance of " Nobody gets hurt"..and " Don't walk past an unsafe act"....then this whole "warranty" repair process is an ugly joke.
The Province of BC deserves better than this.

Sept 2 2015 response

Hi Mike,

In response to your observations of the CN wall work at Brandywine, these repairs are being done as a result of the same documentation reviews which instigated the Pasco Road wall works. These are the only two walls on the Sea to Sky corridor requiring such work, as a result of those reviews.

Further, in regards to the work conditions you photographed, Kiewit’s crews have informed us that all these areas were located behind a protective fenced off area; with signage in place to inform the public of an active construction site. Additionally, the sections of rebar you came across had actually just been removed and slated for disposal. Lastly, the cut out section is not the abutment, rather they are pockets cut into the CN rail crash wall, permitting installation of new anchors. This also ensures that the new anchors do not interfere with CN’s rail right-of-way.

I hope this email serves to provide some clarity to your observations. Thanks again for sharing.


Deborah Tan
Concessionaire Manager
Lower Mainland District
Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure
Ph: (604) 527-2289

Added Sept 8 2015
MOT inspection reports and near the bottom...discussions on how/why Brandywine and Pasco issues were discovered

This highway project was opened just in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
It is often misquoted as costing 600 million.
The 2012 BC Auditor General report put the capital cost at 795 million ( before interest payments and maintenance costs )

Now, millions of "secret dollars" are being spent to fix errors in engineering and construction. American behemoth Kiewit, while hauling in 12 billion dollars a year...didn't "Get it Right the First Time" on the the Sea to Sky highway.

All the players in MOT and engineering have been very quick and very loud to point out that there are NO SAFETY ISSUES with the defective S2S walls and Brandywine CNRail overpass. 

This, is supposed is to prevent any serious questioning of the faulty work done. 

But, there are defects in engineering, inspection and construction...expensive problems. Expensive problems that have a root cause. Problems that need to be investigated through to a logical and complete conclusion. If the defects in the S2S project are fully investigated and the results made public, then it reduces the chances of repeating the errors.

( once fooled, but twice is our own damn fault )

The Province of BC paid top dollar for the Sea to Sky Highway upgrade.
MOT is now trying to downplay the discovery of faulty work and improper components in a complex project that is ultimately funded by the public.

Is it possible that MOT upper management is more interested in protecting the relationship with their American contractor, Kiewit...than they are in informing the BC taxpaying public about the current and future situation on the Sea to Sky Highway?

All the MOT staff and Minister Todd Stone are paid out of the public purse. The S2S project is paid for from the same seemingly bottomless purse. ( 795 million + maintenance + interest...puts the bill over 1 billion dollars. )
Fair answers to fair questions is not too much to expect, even in the twilight of accountability in this country. ( and the heyday of "spin" , denial and deflection. )

To finish 
Inspect every damn inch of the Sea to Sky project. All 130 kilometers worth. Find and fix every defect, fault and oversight that affects the lifespan, structural integrity and "paid for" dollar value.

If the Province of BC was complicit, aiding or supporting shoddy work at taxpayer expense...for short term glory...then that is a whole other ball of poop.

2 videos that explain a bit about MSE walls.

The TxDOT video talks about the wall specs as it goes up. Kinda looks like Kiewit workers.

This video describes the general process of building an MSE wall.

Engineering report on why MSE walls under-perform or fail

 MSE Wall Engineering - Kleinfelder

News stories, radio and television about the Sea to Sky defects...

CBC Radio interview ( click the little box on the right )

Global TV

Another retaining wall on the Sea-to-Sky needs repairs ...

Laila Yuile 

Troubling photos spark Ministry of Transportation ...

sea to sky highway | No Strings Attached : Laila Yuile on ...
North Shore News 

Highways critic calls for audit - North Shore News

Vancouver Sun
 BC Transportation Minister rebuffs NDP call for independent ...
Here are some news items from back when the project was getting built, and all the players were
elbowing in for an interview.
Now that things are going wrong.....silence. Nobody home.

Sea to Sky engineering an amazing feat - Vancouver Sun

Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement | MMM Group

Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project - Kirk & Co ...

Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project | Hatch Mott ...

Some examples of Sea to Sky highway retaining walls under construction.
 My photos taken from a helicopter.