Helping modernize an engineering marvel with a heavy-duty cable tray bracket

Cross-Canada collaboration creates innovative heavy-duty cable tray for the historic Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine Tunnel.

Opened in 1967, the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine Tunnel links Montreal to the south shore of Quebec and is used daily by more than 120,000 commuters and commercial trucks. After more than half a century of growth and heavy use, the longest underwater tunnel in Canada – nearly 1,400 meters – needed structural renovations and modernization.

The large-scale La Fontaine Tunnel modernization effort includes major structural refurbishing and operating equipment upgrades. Managed by Hatch, ABB Installation Products was selected to provide components, flexible conduits and support brackets to connect and protect electrical wiring throughout the tunnel.

Innovative design for modern infrastructure

Every project presents unique challenges. Support brackets are essential for the installation of cable tray and electrical wiring. As the project evolved, a review of initial product specifications found the proposed support brackets would not adequately meet the load requirements. The solution – design a new heavy-duty bracket.

Decades of experience partnering with transportation and infrastructure customers on improvement and resiliency projects enabled the ABB Installation Products team to quickly evaluate options and deliver on the La Fontaine Tunnel product specifications. The development process to design and produce this type of bracket typically takes six months, requiring multiple design iterations, simulations and extensive testing. To meet the project timeline, ABB’s R&D experts and specialists approached the critical project as an integrated team to express develop a high-performance bracket solution and deliver the product in less than three months.

The team worked quickly to innovate and explore different ideas that made it possible to accelerate bracket design, source materials, test and implement the right solution. The successful design is the result of ABB’s commitment to quality and safety, communication and collaboration, and the following key factors:

  • Leverage finite element analysis (FEA) to speed design and assess reaction prior to testing.
  • Conduct simulations to create multiple prototypes.
  • Select a safe failure mode design to monitor for signs of stress.
  • Expedite sample production using existing Iberville plant inventory.
  • Access experts and additional labs to extensively test and assure quality.

Safe solutions drive satisfaction

The resulting design will help support electrical wiring throughout the La Fontaine Tunnel for years to come. Learn more about ABB’s range of cable tray systems and electrical solutions across Canada and the U.S. See how our solutions help customers in North America and around the world with electrical, construction, transportation and infrastructure projects.

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About the author

Marc Turcotte

Marc Turcotte is Research & Development Manager for ABB Installation Products, Canada. Marc and his team partner with customers on strategic planning and development of safe, smart and sustainable electrical solutions across diverse sectors, including manufacturing, transportation, power generation and construction. He has more than 20 years of experience in electrification, including engineering, product design, process transformation and market development.
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