St. Catharines’ $90 million Burgoyne Bridge project combines innovative construction with landmark structural design

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GTA Construction Report staff writer

St. Catharines new Burgoyne Bridge replaces an almost 100-year old bridge and provides the city with a signature landmark structure, reflecting the city’s 1,000 acres of parks, gardens and trails.

Mayor Brian McMullan said part of the RFP for the $90 million project included a desire to have the bridge reflect the city’s official “Garden City” nickname. “The bridge itself will be spectacular but will also be very inviting with parkettes at each end and planters running across the bridge.”

The RFP also included a requirement to make the bridge a landmark through its structural design to avoid adding to the construction costs through simply cosmetic applications. The resulting design: the bridge will span 300m across Highway 406 and Twelve Mile Creek and will feature a focal open-truss arch, open metal railings, shaped piers, landscaped medians and custom light standards reflecting the city’s local shipyard industrial heritage.

The bridge will also include pedestrian and bike approaches to reflect the city’s commitment to sustainability and ‘green’ transportation and it will include viewing platforms to allow users vantage points from which to connect to the history and beauty of the area. “We wanted the bridge to make a statement as residents and visitors enter downtown St. Catharines that says we are a progressive, vibrant city.”

Besides allowing access for green transportation McMullan says the bridge will been crafted for longevity and minimized erosion both through its material use and design.

The original Burgoyne Bridge had been constructed in 1915 and named for local businessman, editor and three time city mayor, William Bartlett Burgoyne, who had been a huge proponent for its construction. At the time, the seven-span steel girder bridge had been hailed as an impressive engineering achievement spanning 377 m long with a 9m wide roadbed plus two sidewalks.

While its construction required the realignment of streets and the demolition of several important buildings, the new bridge is being deliberately constructed to avoid this. “Oak Hill, the historic William Hamilton Merritt estate sits at one side of the street. We couldn’t realign the street and save the property. ”

The solution to saving the historic landmark and keeping the existing bridge open for use? The new bridge is being carefully constructed adjacent to the existing. Once it is ready the old bridge will be cut at each end and the new structure moved into its place. McMullan says this alone has made this a unique and challenging project.

The Burgoyne Bridge has been designed by DTAH and is being constructed by Pomerleau Inc., and overseen by Delcan Corp. It is set to be completed by August 2016.

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