Knowing what the tall metal structure is at the Ross Street underpass construction site didn’t stop Rob Niewenhuizen from stopping by to look at it in wonder.
“I was driving around… on Sunday and I was looking at it and I thought, my God, that’s such an interesting site, because it does look odd with these big walls,” laughed the City of Salmon Arm’s director of engineering and public works.
In response to anyone curious about the tall metal structure, Niewenhuizen explained they’re called shoring walls (sheet pile shoring), and they’re there to protect the rail bypass while excavation work for the underpass occurs.
“Right now on the north side is where they have the bypass track, the active rail tracks,” said Niewenhuizen. “So what they’re going to do is build a box with those sheet pilings all the way around the excavation so there’s no sloughing of materials while they’re digging.
“Once they get the bridge in place and everything is done on the south side, then they will remove those sheet pilings and they will remove the bypass track on the north side and put the trains on the new bridge.”
Niewenhuizen added the sheet piling wall going east-west will stay as the work crews begin excavating on the north side of the bridge.
“It’s just for protection of the area where they’re going to be digging,” said Niewenhuizen of the temporary structure. “It’s a big project and it is a lot of work and there are a lot of technical issues that need to be dealt with. It’s all about protection of the railway really. We don’t want anything to move on the railway because we don’t want to have a derailment.”
As of March 9 the underpass was 30 per cent complete, and it was expected to be finished by early 2023. Contractual obligations require Lakeshore to be open for July and August, and the contractor is hoping to have the roadway graded and paved for the opening.
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