Kinsol Trestle Rehabilitation

Shawnigan Lake, BC

Standing 145 feet above the Koksilah River, the Kinsol Trestle is one of the tallest free-standing and most spectacular timber rail trestle structures in the world. This historic trestle was completed in 1920 as part of the Canadian Northern Railway; however, the rail route was retired in 1979.

Restoration Work

As a basis for restoration planning, Cascade Engineering Group (now part of ISL) analyzed data using RISA 3-D and conducted a full physical inspection of the trestle that included over 400 wood-bore samples. Restoration work included the replacement of unsound timbers, minor refurbishment of a Howe Truss substructure and rebuilding of 17 structural piers to support the new 614-foot walkway atop the structure.

BC-grown Wood

Construction of the bridge incorporated concrete footings, six Howe trusses and more than 1.2 million board feet of timber — all of it second growth BC-grown Douglas-fir and cypress.

Trans-Canada Trail

Prior to the trestle's rehabilitation, hikers, cyclists and equestrians were forced to make an 8.5 km detour around the Koksilah River. Now, the Kinsol Trestle provides the important final link in the Trans-Canada Trail and has bolstered BC's recreational tourism industry.


The rehabilitated bridge retains 60 percent of its historic timber, and the project has been recognized with several awards for its dedication to sustainability — including a 2013 Consulting Engineers of Alberta Showcase Award of Merit for Sustainable Design.

"Preserving our past and our culture is the essence of sustainability—this project demonstrates this in spades. This project was born by passion, not regulation, which makes it special"
—CEA Showcase Award judge’s comment
(Alberta Innovators magazine, spring 2013)

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