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Means Protection Barrier – Burgoyne Bridge


High-level and landmark type bridges have been found to pose as an opportunity for the vulnerable in society to die by falling which can have a significant impact on roadway users and the general public who witness such events.  Typical bridge railings and parapets, while providing protection to the general public as users of bridges, do not provide sufficient protection against intentional falls from a structure. This paper outlines the planning, design, and construction of a means protection barrier system installed on the recently replaced Burgoyne Bridge in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. The Burgoyne Bridge replacement was completed in 2017 and spans over Twelve Mile Creek and Hwy 406. The 125m main span utilizes a tri-chord steel arch flanked by twin decks each supported by a single composite trapezoidal steel box girder. Each deck carries one lane of traffic, a bicycle lane, and a sidewalk and are separated with a median gap of 5.5m running the full length of the 333m long bridge.

The barrier for the exterior edges of the bridge consists of a unique inclined cantilever aluminum pipe picket type barrier, while the gap between the bridge decks is protected by a stainless-steel mesh netting system. Both barriers utilize the existing pedestrian railing post anchorages in an effort to both minimize impacts to the existing structure as well as expedite construction and reduce costs and materials. While visually noticeable, both barriers were designed to be sympathetic to the overall architecture of the bridge with the aim to not detract from the overall presence of the structure.  

This paper will discuss the current state of practice across Canada and the Unites States while highlighting the design parameters and testing developed for this project to ensure its successful performance. In an effort to fully understand the performance during service of these barrier systems,  wind tunnel testing and dynamic analysis of the barriers and structure were carried out for various wind loading conditions, resulting in the need for a damper solution to be utilized to reduce vibrations.  This paper will also summarize the design decisions and lessons learned during the preliminary design through to construction of the Burgoyne Bridge means protection barrier system. These barriers present a unique solution harmonious to the overall architecture of the bridge with the expectation that they will provide reliable protection for the St. Catharines community and general public for many years to come.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Transportation Structures
Archibald, Brent
Tassone, Frank
Luk, Andrew
Nabi, Sardar
Zilstra, Colin