Making a good impression: Wickens uses Dry Ice Blasting to clean the Canadian Plaza canopy

Posted On February 21, 2018

Extending across the Niagara River, from Fort Erie, Ontario to Buffalo, New York, the Peace Bridge is a heavily trafficked border crossing, handling over 6 million vehicles annually.

On the Canadian side of the bridge, visitors are greeted by the Canadian Plaza, which consists of a main administration building for processing arrivals. The Plaza’s award winning canopy, under which vehicles park, is a feat of design and engineering - built using Douglas Fir wood and styled to replicate a long boat or canoe in the tradition of Canada’s indigenous people.

Since the canopy was constructed in 2006, exposure to the elements has caused the stain on the wood to deteriorate, leaving it discoloured and uneven in appearance. Being a public building and a first impression for people visiting Canada, the Peace Bridge authorities decided that the wooden underside of the canopy needed refreshing. The problem they faced, however, was how to clean the decking without disrupting the high volumes of visitor traffic.

Wickens was hired for the project because of their expertise with dry ice blasting, a revolutionary cleaning method that is quick, thorough and safe. Dry ice blasting works by propelling dry ice pellets at high speeds through specialized equipment. When the pellets make contact with a surface, they sublimate (vapourize) and the air stream breaks the bond between the dirt and the substrate.

The process doesn’t create secondary waste or use harmful toxic chemicals so the cleaning can be carried out with minimal disruption to business operations. Dry Ice Blasting cleaning is also non-abrasive, making it ideal for use on delicate surfaces.

Cleaning the 300-foot canopy was done systematically, with Wickens technician’s blast cleaning one 50-foot section at a time. Each section was contained while the work was being done to protect ground traffic, and safe walkways were created for pedestrians.

After thoroughly cleaning the surfaces, Wickens re-stained the wood with the same stain that was used during the original build, leaving the canopy looking fresh and good as new. The project was completed on time in less than two months, with minimal disruption to the day-to-day operations of the Canadian Plaza.

To learn more about the benefits of dry ice blasting, contact Wickens today!