Canadian Consulting Engineer

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – TRANSPORTATION Trafalgar Street Elevated Roundabout

The level railway crossing at the intersection of Trafalgar Street and Hale Street was a longstanding bottleneck in the city of London's road network. The single level crossing consisted of an arterial road and a collector road intersecting and...

October 1, 2011   By Delcan

The level railway crossing at the intersection of Trafalgar Street and Hale Street was a longstanding bottleneck in the city of London’s road network. The single level crossing consisted of an arterial road and a collector road intersecting and crossing three CN rail lines.

With a mix of residential, commercial and industrial land uses in the area, the crossing is used by local and city-wide traffic, public transit, cyclists and pedestrians. The CN tracks are used by freight and high-speed passenger trains.

When the city decided to make improvements to the crossing, the recommended solution during the environmental assessment process was a signalized intersection on a raised structure over the rail line.

However, a subsequent value engineering review concluded that a roundabout rather than a signalized intersection on the concrete rigid frame elevated structure would provide more benefits.

The selection of a roundabout rather than signals:

  • reduces the length of the bridge from 115 to 86 metres, resulting in a saving of $2 million;
  • eliminates the need for traffic signals and their associated maintenance costs;
  • eliminates need for left turn lanes;
  • reduces the number of potential traffic conflict points resulting in improved safety;
  • reduces the forecasted number and severity of collisions;
  • reduces unnecessary idling, air emissions and fuel consumption, resulting in improved air quality; and
  • provides a focal point for community landscaping.

This crossing is the first raised roundabout over a rail line in North America and has become a landmark for the city of London. Since its opening, the feedback from the public has been very positive. The delays to vehicular traffic have been eliminated and CN is able to conduct operations without hindrance.

Design from first principles

The roadway and structural elements had to be developed from basic first principles since common design guidelines and standards could not be applied directly to this situation. Ourston Roundabouts Engineering assisted Delcan by providing a preliminary design layout for the roundabout.

The multi-year, multi-phase project began construction in February 2010 and was completed in December 2010. Delcan’s scope covered the environmental impact assessment and approvals, the detailed design of the physical infrastructure, project management, and construction administration. In addition, Delcan coordinated the relocation of utilities such as the electrical power, telephone, gas and cable infrastructure, as well as the relocation of the CN tracks. Delcan also facilitated property acquisitions by participating in legal hearings and working directly with homeowners. Throughout, Delcan managed a large team of local specialist sub-consultants and employed key experts for various specified tasks.

Benefits for vehicles, CN rail and neighbourhoods

The project has eliminated significant delays for the 15,000 vehicles using the crossing every day and reduces the amount of traffic infiltrating adjacent neighbourhoods. The new crossing also enables the railway to improve its efficiency for its shunting operations and 47 daily freight and passenger trains that pass through. Increased rail efficiency helps to reduce commercial traffic on highways, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The city of London has dedicated the bridge in honour of the Canadian World War II fighter pilot and hero from the London area, Charles (Charley) W. Fox. cce

 

Project name:

Trafalgar St./Hale St. & CN Rail Elevated Roundabout, London, Ont.

Award-winning firm (prime consultant):

Delcan (Henry Huotari, P.Eng., John Riggs, Marla Browning, Norman Walker, P.Eng., Sameh Salib, P.Eng., Paul Elgie, CET, Ken Lowes, Tech, Patrick Gallipeau, Tech.)

Owner:

City of London

Other key players:

Golder Associates (foundations/pavement design); Ourston Roundabout Engineering (preliminary roundabout design); McKay-Cocker Construction (general contractor).


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