Central Avenue Bridge Replacement

Replacing a 50-year-old bridge eases inter-modal traffic at Canada–US border

Regional Municipality of Niagara | Canada | 2014

Rapid bridge
replacement technique used successfully

Close consultation
& continuous coordination with CN rail

vehicles daily


  • Structural evaluation of the Central Avenue Bridge revealed that this 130 m long multi-span bridge could no longer support its posted loading capacity for truck traffic and needed to be replaced.
  • The bridge was constructed in 1953 and carries 11,300 vehicles over a major rail corridor and Lewis Street, which provides a vital link to the Fort Erie Bridgeburg business district.
  • The design of the new bridge required an innovative and technical solution.
  • Careful attention to construction staging was also needed to keep traffic flowing into the Bridgeburg area and avoid disruption of the rail traffic crossing the US border.


  • The bridge was designed in a manner to maintain CN operations as well as allow future flexibility for the expansion of the CN/CP shared portion of the rail corridor. Traffic impacts were minimized during replacement.
  • The rapid bridge replacement technique was used to laterally slide the new superstructure from a temporary staging platform to the permanent substructure constructed under the existing bridge, minimizing the duration of a complete traffic shutdown.


  • Rapid bridge construction techniques using hydraulic jacking assemblies with steel rollers, positioned to launch structure to sit on permanent bearing seats on constructed abutment and piers.
  • Design of the north section of the bridge structure allowed for future CN/CP rail expansion within their right-of-way.
  • Staging and construction sequencing was designed to minimize traffic disruption on Central Avenue, including the building of a new substructure below the existing superstructure, and the new superstructure beside the existing one.

Project numbers

C$10 million construction cost 
11,300 daily vehicles

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