Built in 1908, The Ross Street Bridge/Subway on the former Canada Southern Railway mainline was abandoned by CN Rail in 2006 and acquired by the City in 2009. A structural integrity assessment at that time concluded that while the bridge could support the current, small tourist train on the southern track, the rest of the bridge possessed only enough structural integrity to support its dead load. A 2012 bi-annual bridge inspection report confirmed this finding and identified a prohibitive rehabilitation cost exceeding $4 million.
In October of 2013 CJDL responded successfully to a City of St. Thomas Request for Proposal (RFP) to provide engineering, design and construction services for the removal of the Ross Street Railway Bridge. The project involved 260m+/- of complete road reconstruction between Talbot and Amelia Streets including sewers, watermain and utilities. A ‘T’-intersection was created at Centre Street and the railway was to be reinstated with a single level crossing. The streetscape incorporates boulevard tree plantings and other landscape architectural features to complement and tie-in to existing Jonas Park and recreational trails.
The project included a narrow timeline calling for a July 1st 2014 reinstatement of the new level crossing in time for the annual Day Out with Thomas Event. A Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report (CHER) and Historical Impact Assessment (HIA) were being prepared to support the Environment Assessment (EA) process prior to final design. As part of EA mitigation, a permanent memorial of the bridge will be created to commemorate its historical contribution to the City of St. Thomas.