King Road grade separation opens, no more waiting for barriers to open while trains pass by on the busiest line in the country.

December 13, 2013,

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The Region had issued a cold weather alert but that didn’t seem to deter the small crowd that showed up to stand underneath a railway grade separation and watch ward 1 council member Rick Craven wave his hands and shout: “Yeah, we did it”.

This is a view that thousands of drivers are going to enjoy from this moment forward – no more waiting for the rail barrier to go up and the flashing lights to go off.  Waiting for the trains to go by is a thing of the past on King Road.


And did it they most certainly did.  It was last Thanksgiving when after 96 straight hours of work, and the removal of nearly 800 trucks of fill, this five million pound concrete tunnel we are standing under was hydraulically pushed into place while freight trains rumbled overhead throughout that weekend.

Mayor Goldring cranks the siren on the antique fire engine that was the first vehicle to drive the the King Road grade separation.  In the rear waving to the crowd is Councillor Craven pleased as punch with the completion of a project he has championed ever since he got himself elected.

Once the structure was in place construction crews started building the aqueduct that  allows Indian Creek to flow over the realigned road. That aqueduct was about twenty feet above those of us standing in the cold weather.  

When the aqueduct work was done construction crews were able to start the road and then asphalt n was laid down.  There is still some sidewalk work to be done but today you can peddle a bicycle underneath multiple sets of railway tracks on what was described as the busiest railway line in the country.

No more waiting for the flashing red lights to stop and for the traffic barrier to rise on King Road – it’s now non-stop from Plains Road up to the North Service Road.

Scott Stewart, General Manager for Development and Infrastructure paid a compliment to what he called “our funding partner” CN – “this project would not have been possible without your commitment.”

How cold was it?  Cold enough for the pastries on the reception to freeze.  The significance of this picture is the large concrete piece at the top to the rear.  That is the aqueduct that was built to allow fish to swim over the road that was built.  Sound fishy?  Next to the aqueduct is the bridging that carries the train tracks.

It wasn’t a commitment willingly made by the railway – the city had to take CN to the Transportation Safety  Board to get the funds needed to build the grade separation.  Perhaps that is why the railway people had the crossing bells ringing throughout much of the ceremony.

For the most part these events are photo ops for the politicians but this event was a milestone.  A major traffic bottleneck was fixed and the opportunity to open up the development of some major employments lands on the west side of King Road south of the QEW was more feasible.  Getting the developer to the table will not be as difficult as it was to get CN to pay for the building of the grade separation.

There were no developers in the audience this afternoon.

There were however a number of staff people who deserved to be both mentioned and applauded for the construction of the underpass.

General manager Scott Stewart made a point of recognizing the individuals and groups who were instrumental the project done.  Finishing the job within that 96 hour window was a very significant feat.

Staff from various city departments included: Tom Eichenbaum, Scott Hamilton, Bob Jurk, Derek McGaghey, Genevieve Jane, Jason Forde – from Engineering, Ron Steiginga, from legal, Helen Walihura from Community Relations, and Steve Vrakela from Roads and Parks Maintenance.

Cutting the official ribbon is, from the left,  General Manger Scott Stewart ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, Mayor Goldring and Director of Engineering Tom Eichenbaum.

The Ontario Public Works Association advised the city earlier in the day  that the King Road / CN Grade Separation Project received  the 2013 OPWA Project of the Year Award in the Transportation, in the $10 – $50 Million Category.

In a perfect world the Mayor and the General manager would have taken that list out to a local pub and hoisted a few and charged it all the ward Councillor’s expense budget.  Rick Craven will be telling anyone with even just one ear how significant this project is – it is certainly one he has pushed since the day he was elected ten years ago.


Mammoth construction task underway on King Road

Graphic representation of construction task.

Web cast of construction site didn’t please US security types.

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1 comment to King Road grade separation opens, no more waiting for barriers to open while trains pass by on the busiest line in the country.

  • Pat Loretto

    I always liked this Craven guy. See you in church Rick! I know that you know just how much hard honest work goes to the benefit of all in this community. God bless you Rick Craven (for president).