Ross Street Underpass

Owner: City of Salmon Arm  |  Salmon Arm, BC


About the Project

The at-grade CPKC Railway crossing at Marine Park Drive in Salmon Arm was identified as a priority for improvement. The crossing experienced congestion when trains passed – creating delays and affecting emergency response times. In 2013, Binnie began work to manage, design, and implement improvements for the $20.9 million Ross Street Underpass Project to create a safe, uninterrupted connection to downtown waterfront. Building a road below the rail had a cascading effect that required lowering several streets and utilities. To effectively drain the underpass, Binnie built a pump station. Additionally, a 1.8 m storm line was installed under the tracks. The grade-separated Ross Street crossing of CP Rail’s busy 30-train-per-day mainline not only improved the safety of all users, but also improved the functionality and efficiency of CPKC’s rail operations in Salmon Arm and generally throughout the Shuswap corridor. Today, Salmon Arm residents, businesses, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians can pass safely through the Ross Street Underpass without delays.

To ensure CPKC Rail operations continued safely during construction of the underpass, Binnie, in partnership with Hatch and Cansel, devised a state-of-the-art Realtime Automated Monitoring System to continuously monitor track, wall, and structure movement. This was a fast, safe, and low-impact solution that provided certainty to CPKC Rail. This track monitoring assisted in securing CPKC Rail’s approval, and the added assurance contributed to a productive relationship with CPKC Rail.

Another aspect of this project was to source services and materials (precast concrete, asphalt, and aggregate from local supplier) locally to contribute to the community. We proactively worked with contractors to use an alternative shoring method to the proposed mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls. Binnie and the contractor implemented sheet pile shoring, which reduced the project footprint, excavation costs & soil disturbance.


The biggest challenge was to lower seven blocks of underground utilities/downtown infrastructure to allow the project to achieve a safe traffic grade. The dual-lane underpass is the result of strategic and phased parking and traffic management while maintaining the railroad flow throughout construction. There was a multiyear collaboration process to develop a design and work plan to the satisfaction of CPKC. Binnie maintained weekly meetings with a CPKC representative. Furthermore, CPCK traffic flaggers were onsite for any activities in the vicinity of the tracks. We also worked with Salmon Arm’s downtown business association to manage and address project concerns and communication, and on-site public engagement. Binnie’s Geomatics team worked closely with CPKC to create and implement an innovative real-time automated survey monitoring of the active rail. This was critical because there was a 9 m deep excavation just meters away from the rail mainline. To prevent rail deformations and catastrophic derailment caused by soil settlement, we had to carefully design the temporary soil retention. The real-time monitoring was a critical component to assure CPKC that the geotechnical modeling of the soil settlement was behaving as anticipated. Robotic survey equipment measured the position of 140 prisms attached to the track and structure. This data was automatically analyzed with multiple CPKC Rail tolerances.


The Ross Street Underpass project resulted in:

  • Reduced travel and emergency response times by up to 6 min.
  • Connecting the waterfront to downtown Salmon Arm.
  • Bolstering tourism and community building.
  • More recreational and entertainment opportunities in downtown Salmon Arm.
  • Increased access to the downtown and waterfront.
  • Improved safety of railroad flow.
  • Increased employment opportunities for local contractors.
  • Economic growth in the area.
  • Wide sidewalks and bicycle lane

Service(s) Provided
Prime Consultant

Project Team (Consultants)
Fletcher Associated Ltd.
Pinpoint Survey Ltd. 

Project Team (Contractors)
Kingston Construction Ltd.


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