Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 43

The Experimental Army Signals Establish- ment (EASE)—commonly known as the Diefenbunker—was built in Carp, Ontario, between 1959 and 1961 to shelter Canada’s leaders in the event of nuclear war. Owned and operated by the Department of National Defence from 1959 to 1994, the Diefenbunker was opened to the public as a museum in 1998. to protect the corrosion wrap on the pipe from damage. Five compressor stations were also built, bringing the total cost of construction to $130 million. Project: Going Underground Typically, DCL’s role usually ended with the construction phase of a facility. But with the emergency government headquarters buildings that it helped to construct between 1959 and 1964—known as EASE (federal) and BRIDGE (provincial)—DCL was responsible for ongoing maintenance for a decade after completion. At Carp, Ontario, the Experimental Army Signals Establishment (EASE, or the Diefenbunker, after the Prime Minister who implemented the plans for a decen- tralized emergency government system) was designed to resist a 5-megaton nuclear weapon detonating 1.1 miles away. Completed in 1961, the result was a 100,000-square-foot, four-storey underground structure surrounded by a layer of carefully selected gravel some five feet thick, the movement of which could absorb major shocks. More than four times as much reinforcement was used compared to conventional heavy construction— BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA including 32,000 cubic yards of concrete and 5,000 tons of reinforcing steel. Concrete pours were large, because joints between the different pours had to be kept to a minimum—the longest pour lasted more than 45 continuous hours. The roof and base slabs were both five feet thick and 154 feet on a side, while the walls ranged from 2.5 to four feet thick. More than 90 miles of cable connecting the central bunker to remote transmitter sites had to be buried in rock. DCL managed the facility’s construction, with the Foundation Company as the main contractor. To minimize construction time, DCL used concurrent design and build activities, along with the recently introduced method of critical path project management (which DCL and DND were among the first organizations to use for construction planning and scheduling). A large three- dimensional Plexiglas model also helped with allocating space during the design process. On the provincial front, the BRIDGE or Regional Emergency Government Headquarters facilities (in Nanaimo, Penhold, Shilo, Camp Borden, Valcartier and Debert) were all completed by the end of the 1963–64 fiscal year, with a total contract value of just over $19 million. 33