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Reconstruction of Wyndham Street and CN Construction – City of Gueph


With the construction of a New City Hall, the core area of Guelph has undergone a significant
transformation. An integral component of this was the reconstruction of Wyndham Street, from
Wellington Street to Carden Avenue, which is the primary gateway to the City’s core area of
institutional and commercial uses. The reconstruction included new underground services as
well as streetscaping, widened sidewalks and bicycle lanes. In order to make this new
connection functional, the CN Subway required replacement.
The existing CN Subway on Wyndham Street dates back to the early 1900’s, and had reached
the end of its service life. The bridge abutments were solid concrete, more than 1.0 m thick,
with minimal reinforcing and the beam was steel, single span. It was deficient in terms of
vertical clearance, had ongoing maintenance issues, and did not provide the horizontal
clearance required for the proposed road cross-section.
During the preliminary design phase of the project, several issues arose which needed to be
addressed as part of the work; these included:
• The corridor is operated by Rail America, under lease from CN Rail, and had to be
maintained for freight and passenger service.
• The City proposed to construct a bus transit hub at the VIA station area to create a multimodal
• GO Transit was in the process of implementing daily train service to Guelph, which
required new platforms and tunnel access from proposed parking areas.
• The City wished to implement a pedestrian friendly Wyndham Street corridor including
bike lanes, wide sidewalk and street scaping.
In addition, given narrow right-of-way and the historic structures in the core area, i.e. an
Armoury, VIA Station, Cenotaph and designated heritage buildings, setbacks were minimal and
the work area was tightly controlled.
The AMEC design team, in close consultation with the City, developed a phased construction
approach which maintained rail traffic through the construction site. Key elements to the
construction approach included:
• Design of a bridge structure which was essentially four (4) bridges to enable rail traffic
be maintained.
• Temporary and permanent relocation of rail lines during construction.
• Temporary shoring to meet the phased approach.
• Tie-back systems in the area of the Armoury and the heritage buildings to mitigate
foundation concerns with regards to the Heritage Structures.
• Co-ordination with outside organizations such as CN Rail, Rail America, GO Transit and
VIA to ensure all needs were met.
• Design bridge structure to AREMA requirements while minimizing changes in rail grade
while implementing new platforms, pedestrian walkways, stairs and tunnels.
• Relocation of Steam Locomotive and Tender 6167.
The bridge design chosen was a post tension structure which provided the flexibility to
implement the phased approach to the project.
The reconstruction of Wyndham Street took place over a three year period, with the successful
opening of the reconstructed Wyndham Street in May 2013.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Geometric Design - Present Challenges
Smeltzer, P.
Geometric design