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Project OverviewFreight Access SegmentWaterfront Access Mainline Segment
Wall Designer: The Neel CompanyType: Freight Access, Grade SeparationType: Viaduct Replacement
Precaster: Oldcastle, IncOwners: City of Vancouver, Port of VancouverOwner: BNSF
Project Size: 84,258 sq ftContractors: Rotschy, Inc; Nutter CorporationContractors: Nutter Corporation
Architectural Finish: Exposed AggregateEngineers: David Evans & Associates, IncEngineers: Parsons Brinckerhoff

Following a steady rise in activity, the Port of Vancouver embarked upon the West Vancouver Freight Access Project (WVFAP) - a large, multi-year initiative that will create a state-of-the-art train facility by 2017. The project will increase rail freight capacity both inside the port and along BNSF and UP mainlines - lines that connect the Northwest to major hubs in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. To date, T-WALL® has been used on two interconnected portions of the WVFAP - a freight access line and the waterfront access mainline.

Why T-WALL?
Preferred by Class I RailroadsModular Units Facilitate Phased Construction

BNSF specified T-WALL® for both the freight line and waterfront access mainline. Class I Railroads prefer T-WALL® because the units are heavy-duty, monolithic, have no exposed metal, and offer a long-term service life.

Because modular, stand-alone T-WALL® units allow for segmented construction, Phase I could begin before all project funding was available. Individual units also facilitate temporary structures, like the above-grade crossover built as part of a mainline shoofly that prevented loss of service.

Additional Benefits
  • Wide range of acceptable backfill
  • Minimal excavation, less backfill
  • Custom architectural finishes
  • Heavy-duty, reinforced precast units
  • On-site contractor assistance
  • Long-term service life
  • Small crew needs
  • Rapid installation
  • Complete design support
  • Meets AREMA requirements
  • Reduced right-of-way demands
  • Pre-qualified manufacturers

  • Three Phases of Construction

    Prior to redesign, the rail approach to the Port of Vancouver consisted of two BNSF freight tracks and two BNSF mainline tracks. A c.1905 viaduct carried the tracks over Sixth St., but all other separations in the area were at-grade.

    T-WALL® was first used to build a new above-grade freight access line (Phases I & II). The newly built line then doubled as a shoofly for the mainline track while the waterfront access line was reconstructed (Phase III).


    Phases I & II: Freight Access Line
    During the first and second phases of the project an above-grade BNSF freight siding was built using T-WALL®, allowing for undisturbed vehicular access to a waterfront area slated for development.
    Phase I
  • A curved grade separation approach was built using T-WALL® units placed stem-to-stem and backfilled.

  • Phase II
  • The remaining sections of the above-grade freight line were constructed. Some portions used back-to-back T-WALL®
       units while other areas only required units on one side.
  • The new freight line included a ramp access point for track maintenance.
  • Precast beams were lowered into place, completing the two new bridges.
  • Freight line access tracks were installed.

  • T-WALL® works with a wide range of acceptable backfill, which allowed sand, gravel, and volcanic ash material (from the eruption of Mt. St. Helens and dredged from the Toule River) to be used. The material made excellent, free-draining backfill.


    Phase III: Waterfront Access Mainline - Shoofly
    Following completion of the new above-grade freight access line, a shoofly was built to carry mainline traffic onto the freight access tracks while the existing viaduct was demolished.
  • Temporary sheet piling was installed between the new freight access grade separations and the mainline.
  • A short section of T-WALL® was temporarily installed to carry the shoofly access from the above-grade freight line back
       to the mainline.
  • Two shoofly tracks were installed on the freight access line and across the temporary above-grade separation - where they    rejoined the mainline.
  • The viaduct was demolished while mainline traffic continued service via the shoofly.


  • Phase III (continued): Waterfront Access Mainline -
    Viaduct Replacement & Completion
  • The original viaduct was replaced with T-WALL®.
  • The area between the two new grade separations was completely backfilled, covering a small port of the freight access
       T-WALL® units and bringing both lines to the same grade.
  • T-WALL® grade separation approaches were built at each of the two new mainline grade separations.
  • Precast bridge beams were lowered into place.
  • Mainline tracks were installed.
  • The T-WALL® units temporarily installed to build the shoofly were removed.