Unique Design—The First of its Kind in North America
Spanning a 262-ft-wide waterway, the Vimy Memorial Bridge has a 133-ft-wide deck cross section comprised of 4 general purpose lanes, 2 auxiliary turning lanes, 2 dedicated transit lanes, 2 on-road cycling lanes, and sidewalks in each direction. To downplay the magnitude of the bridge, Parsons’ award-winning design separated the roadways from each other and from the sidewalks on either side, creating 3 open-air slots within the bridge, allowing light to substantially penetrate the deck across its full length and at several locations across its width. These slots accommodate the steel tubular triple arches along the 410-ft main span, which support the suspended deck using inclined hangers. This unique design is the first of its kind in North America.
Construction on Land to Minimize Environmental Impacts
The Rideau River forms the historically significant and protected waterway of the Rideau Canal. It is home to various wildlife species and is a recreational waterway used by the general public extensively during the summer months. For these reasons, it was very important to minimize the impact on the water habitat and recreational users.
The majority of the bridge superstructure (80%) was constructed on land at the east approach and then launched across the Rideau River into its final position over the foundations and thrust blocks. It was then lowered approximately 16 ft to align with the arch end segments that were already loosely anchored in position on the thrust blocks.
To facilitate the bridge launch, a temporary structure was erected over the river to support the bridge as it rolled across. To expedite the superstructure erection, the launch structure was designed and detailed by the contractor so it could be erected and launched from the opposite side of the river from the superstructure erection. This allowed the construction of the two structures to be completed in tandem and independently of each other.
The launch process was completed within a 2-day period, enabling the waterway channel to remain open throughout construction. This reduced disruption of recreational use of the river during construction and minimized the environmental impact to the surrounding area, particularly in ecologically sensitive regions. In addition, all welding and painting was completed on the approach, thereby ensuring there was no environmental impact from paint or weld material entering the waterway. Plus, for long-life and sustainability, LED light fixtures were used for the bridge lighting, significantly reducing energy consumption, light pollution, and future maintenance needs.