And you think your workload is heavy – See the moment a giant truss is suspended over Union Station’s busy rail corridor

In a feat of strength and logistics, an important but formidable piece of a new elevated park is put in its proper place.

Think about Toronto’s downtown.

Now consider two humpback whales suspended in midair above the rail corridor that help thousands of people cross the city’s busiest tracks each day.

And suspend them there for years to come.

That’s close to what recently happened, as a mammoth 45-metre long steel truss was delicately put into place above the Union Station rail corridor. Spanning the country’s busiest commuter rail path, the piece is half the width of the corridor.

A powerful crane lifts the massive metal truss over the tracks.

A powerful crane lifts the massive metal truss over the dormant tracks.

And it weighs an amazing 85 tonnes. If not whales, it’s about the equal of lifting up 44 midsize SUVs, all at once.

The steel truss is the backbone of the Overbuild Project at CIBC Square. Once complete in 2023, the state-of-the-art, elevated park, will bridge the rail corridor, connecting the financial core to the south-core and Toronto waterfront.

Installation of the truss took place recently during a night in June, after GO trains had stopped running. Ellis Don, the constructor for the project, smoothly suspended the impressive piece of steel into place and mounted it above the then quiet rail corridor.

Large crane moves a big piece of metal into place over the tracks.

This crucial work had to be done overnight as it’s the only time GO Train traffic isn’t zooming through the area.

While being lifted, the truss spanned from the south retaining wall at Track 16 – halfway across the width of the USRC corridor – reaching to track 9. It’s the largest piece of steel Ellis Don has ever put into place over a working rail corridor. .

“From a technical perspective, the lift proceeded as planned and on schedule.” said Jason Lee, Manager, Corridor Infrastructure. “From a visual perspective, it is impressive that something so large could be handled so effortlessly.  Knowing the truss will support what will become an iconic park space in Toronto, made the lift even more amazing.”

large yellow crane lifts big piece of metal into place with the lit up CN Tower in the backgound.

As the city sleeps, work progresses on unique feature of the downtown core.

Once complete, the one-acre, elevated park will connect the Ivanhoé Cambridge/Hines developments at 81 and 141 Bay Street. And, starting early 2020, GO Bus operations will move to the development at 81 Bay, bringing bus services to a centralized location, allowing for improved transit options, and an improved customer experience.

“The truss itself is massive, so it’s no surprise that the coordination effort among the many stakeholders and various departments to ensure that the lift was done safely was just as monumental.” said Dean Bragg, Third-Party Project Officer.

And at the centre, is some pretty weighty work. At least two whales worth.

Story by Stacey Kenny, Metrolinx senior advisor, communications and stakeholder relations.