Kinsol Trestle Bridge Rehabilitation

Shawnigan, British Columbia

Project Details

Prime Consultant

Cowichan Valley Regional District




Award Winning | Bridge Ratings | Bridges | British Columbia | Climate Resilience | Historic and Cultural | Load Capacity Ratings | Pedestrian Bridges | Regional | Rehabilitation | Restoration | Structures | Sustainable Design | Timber

Project Description


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.

As a basis for restoration planning, Cascade Engineering (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.

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 BCgrown Douglas-fir and cypress. The project has been recognized with several awards for its dedication to sustainability since the rehabilitated bridge retains 60 per cent of its historic timber.




  • Coming up with a viable solution to save the bridge
  • Designing the bridge substructure to resist wind and seismic loads
  • Integrating new with old in designing the wood connections




  • Expert advice enabled the owner to justify keeping the bridge
  • Careful analysis enabled the bridge code requirements to be met
  • Care was taken in selecting the materials and designing the connections so they matched the original structure