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Municipalities can look to research labs for cost-effective solutions to infrastructure renewal

By Gilles G. Patry      

In 2004, when the parking garage at the Place du Portage government complex in Gatineau needed repairs, Public Works and Government Services Canada incorporated cutting-edge technology into the design. Instead of employing typical steel reinforcements, the structural slabs use fibre-reinforced polymers: high-strength, non-corroding, composite materials. Developed by the ISIS Canada Research Network, a collaborative group of almost 200 civil engineers across Canada based at the University of Manitoba, the technology helps cities cut costs and doubles the expected lifespan of the slabs, from 50 to 100 years. It has been applied across the country and is just one example of how leading-edge research can address the infrastructure renewal that is so sorely needed in this country’s major cities.

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