The Petawawa Research Forest (PRF) was established in 1918 and is the oldest research forest in the country. Managed by the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre under the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, it influences forest policy, industry, silvicultural practices, and private forest management practices across Canada. In recent months, the failure of a culvert system impacted movement of logging trucks, vehicles, and research teams, in addition to negatively impacting water flow and habitat. FPInnovations collaborated with different partners and stakeholders to help design a modern single-lane engineered wood products bridge, named the Centennial Bridge.
As a result of the advancement of new engineered wood products (EWPs) and increased interest in using environmentally responsible and renewable resources, the bridge was designed out of EWPs, in accordance to CSA S6-14 Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code (CHBDC) with CL-625ON Truck Load. An environmental assessment took place to ensure the protection of environmental and wildlife values.
Timber bridges offer many benefits such as competitive cost, speed of construction with prefabrication, lighter foundations, and quicker installation. The weight of wood is lighter when compared to concrete and steel, and this has a major influence on foundation design, seismic load during earthquake events, and transportation costs. The speed of assembly associated with prefabrication have positive financial, noise, health and safety, and environmental implications.
The Petawawa Research Forest (PRF) Centennial Bridge is an excellent example of how a modern forest access road bridge can be built with new Engineered Wood Products (EWPs). It demonstrates that timber bridges could be compatible with Sustainable Forest License (SFL) needs when constructing water crossings. Costs would likely be similar, with EWPs being more economical in some situations. The difference costs between steel and EWPs may be relatively small in relation to the total installed cost of the bridge.
To learn more on this project, please contact John Pineau, FPInnovations’ Ontario Provincial Leader.