This paper and presentation presents studies of two recently completed pedestrian-cyclist underpasses projects in Canada – the Fermor Avenue underpass located in Winnipeg, Manitoba and the Kingsclear First Nation (KFN) underpass located in KFN, New Brunswick. These projects are evidence that pedestrian-cyclist underpasses can be successfully implemented, despite their generally negative reputations, provided that user comfort and safety remain at the forefront throughout the design process. Crossing under the TransCanada Highway, the Fermor underpass is a 6.0m wide x 3.0m high cast-in-place concrete box structure constructed in two stages at a capital cost of $1.7 Million (2018 Dollars – structural works only).
The structure type was selected following a conceptual design study comparing overpass and underpass options. The structure features long and comforting sightlines along its approach pathways and is well lit with attractive vandal resistance lighting fixtures allowing users to completely see through to the other side of the 37.0m long underpass. The box structure entrances feature 17.2m long cantilevered cast-in-place concrete headwalls complete with aesthetic treatments – the walls were constructed perpendicular to the box structure to avoid the ‘funnelling-in’ sensation typically associated with these structures. While the overall cost of the structure and associated works is not insignificant – and possibly much more than many jurisdictions are able to spend on a similar structure– successful underpasses can be constructed economically and rapidly as evidenced by the KFN underpass project. Crossing under the high-speed Highway 102 which bisects the community of KFN, the KFN underpass is a 3.0m wide x 3.0m tall precast concrete box structure which developed from a conceptual level to substantially constructed and opened to traffic in under three months at an estimated capital cost of $1.4 million (2018 Dollars – all project works).
The structure was built in response to a fatal vehicular-pedestrian strike in September 2019 after numerous years of unsuccessful lobbying by the Community to lower the speed-limit along Highway 102. The project was spearheaded by the Community in partnership with their Joint Venture with significant labour (over 40%) provided by community members.
The project works included the 31.8 m long structure featuring vandal-resistance lighting fixtures and attractive precast concrete block wingwalls, 100m of paved active-transportation pathways complete with landscape lighting, and a security system with a direct feed to the nearby KFN Band Hall. Constructed rapidly and at a minimal cost, this underpass will have a significant imact on the Community.