Recycling old handrails could save the City of Calgary $50,000 on an underpass project.
Construction on the 1st Street SW pedestrian underpass is well underway with demolition work now complete on the west side walkway of the underpass.
Through a collaborative design process, improvements will be completed on both the underpass structure and the pedestrian environment extending from 9th to 10th Avenue South West, including: improved lighting, new sidewalks and guardrails, integrated art and way-finding elements, water mitigation and painting of retaining walls and structure beams.
Prior to the start of construction, city staff inspected the existing handrails of the pedestrian walkway and determined that they could be recycled and reused in other locations. Instead of the material being demolished, approximately 70 metres of steel handrail was salvaged from the west side walkway.
The city believes there is an equivalent amount on the east side walkway that will be removed when the contractor moves over to that side later in the spring.
The railing is currently being stored in The City's bridge maintenance compound. One option being considered is to use the material to upgrade pedestrian railings at other Canadian Pacific Rail underpasses.
Reusing the salvaged handrails should result in an estimated cost savings of $50,000.
The 1st Street South West enhancement project is part of a broader underpass improvement program by The City to improve the pedestrian environment and underpass connections between the Beltline and downtown communities. The 1 Street SW underpass was prioritized for improvement because it has the highest pedestrian use of all Centre City underpasses, is an important gateway connection, and because of its significance as a heritage structure.