Highway 410 backfill on Bishop’s land

Highway 410 backfill on Bishop’s land

Dear members of the Bishop’s community,

As work is underway to complete the Highway 410 extension, significant quantities of earth are being moved near Bishop’s University. The University has come to an agreement with the Highway project contractor, Couillard Construction Limited, to accept a large quantity of backfill on its land — about 546,000 tons or the equivalent of 25,000 truckloads.

In exchange for Bishop’s accepting this backfill, the contractor will begin constructing a 1.5 km path from campus to the future site of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program farm, near Glenday Road. This agreement will allow Bishop’s to significantly decrease the total cost of this project, and to advance the previously scheduled completion date of 2023. We estimate this path would have cost Bishop’s about $700,000 in total. Under this agreement, the total expense for Bishop’s to complete this project will be much lower.

The portion of Bishop’s property identified to accept the earth moved by the contractor is not currently visible from campus, and is adjacent to the future highway. Its surface area is the equivalent of roughly three or four football fields (about 20,000 M2 or 215,000 ft2), and estimates suggest once all the earth will be placed on this site, it will cover the area to the height of about eight feet.

We will be monitoring the process closely from an environmental perspective, ensuring that commitments made regarding the non-contamination of earth accepted are enforced according to the Ministry of Environment standards. It is expected that once all the earth is moved to this location, this area will resume being used as a pasture or hay field to feed animals, as is currently the case.

When making our decision to move forward with the agreement, we took into careful consideration the impact of the alternative; the contractor would have had to dump the backfill at another site in Coaticook. By accepting this arrangement, Bishop’s will contribute to greatly reducing the environmental footprint of this portion of the project as well as reducing the nuisance the circulation of heavy machinery in our local Lennoxville community. We estimate this agreement will prevent 317 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. This is the equivalent to removing about 79 cars from the road for one year or the amount of emissions planting 1865 trees would remove from the atmosphere over their natural lifetime. Moreover, keeping the earth near the construction site will decrease the operation of heavy machinery on streets and roads near Lennoxville by 5,850 hours, reducing both noise pollution and risks of accidents.

Moving forward, if you have any questions or concerns regarding this project, please direct them to David Lacroix, Manager – Capital Planning & Projects