Alberta's top 10

Snapshot views of the province's key road, bridge, and LRT projects

Forget that there's a recession. It's going to be another year of barricades on Alberta's roads and bridges. Part of the reason is the provincial government's commitment to catch up on works that suffered during the Ralph Klein years. And other projects are getting a boost because of federal efforts to stimulate the national economy through infrastructure spending.

Here are the top 10 infrastructure projects in Alberta this year.

1. NORTHEAST, NORTHWEST RING ROAD-CALGARY

Technically two separate projects but both parts of the long-awaited Calgary ring road, the northeast and northwest sections are both slated to open by November after interchanges and paving are completed. The $430-million northwest section has been under construction since 2005 and is being built under a traditional model of delivery, while the $650-million northeast section is a public private partnership (P3) begun in 2007.

While the different methods of delivery undoubtedly play a role in the length of time the projects have gone on, scope changes, such as the addition of three interchanges to reduce the number of lights on the northwest section, also played a role.

For the northeast section, the general contractor is the Stoney Trail Group. Construction and engineering is by Flatiron Constructors Canada Ltd. and Graham.

For the northwest section, the general contractor is PCL-Maxam, a joint venture, while engineering and design is by Aecom.

2. NORTHWEST RING ROAD-EDMONTON

An Alberta Transportation project and the largest of the province's innovative public private partnership projects, the northwest section of Edmonton's Anthony Henday Drive will be a busy site this year and for the next two. The $1.42-billion project involves the construction of 21 km of roadway and 29 bridges between Yellowhead Trail and Manning Drive.
The general contractor is Northwestconnect General Partnership, a joint venture consisting of Flatiron Construction Corp., Graham Construction Engineering, and Parsons. Design is by Aecom.

3. WEST LRT EXPANSION-CALGARY

Preliminary design for the City of Calgary's $776-million western leg of its LRT system is in the design stages. The new line, comprised of 7.7 km of track and six new stations, will run from the city centre to 69th Street SW. Site preparation such as the removal of buildings on acquired land will take place this year with construction scheduled to begin in 2010.

Scheduled for completion in 2012, the West LRT project includes the construction of an interchange at Sarcee Trail and 17th Avenue SW. Simultaneous construction will lower the city's costs, keep disruption to a minimum, and eliminate conflicts between separate contractors trying to manage two projects in close proximity.

Pre-design work is by Hatch Mott MacDonald and GEC Architecture, while the urban designers are GEC Architecture and Lombard North.

4. SOUTH LRT EXTENSION-EDMONTON

About 5.5 km of rail will take the City of Edmonton's LRT line from the South Campus station to Century Park next year. The $673-million price tag for the extension includes a grade separation on 111th Street, taking the train below the southbound lanes into the median of 11th Street at 61st Avenue, as well as a new bus terminal/LRT station at Southgate Mall, and a new LRT station at Century Park.

This year will see the completion of both stations and construction of the grade separation. The line is expected to be up and running in April 2010.

The general contractor along 111th Street is PCL Construction. Project management is by Stantec Consulting.

5. HIGHWAY 63 IMPROVEMENTS

As anyone who travels to Fort McMurray knows, improvements to Highway 63 are badly needed.
Construction began on a five-lane $127-million bridge over the Athabasca River in 2008 and will continue through to 2011. When completed, the 33 m wide, 472 m long deck will be the largest in Alberta.

Two new interchanges at Thickwood Boulevard and Confederation Way, estimated to cost a total of $300 million, will get underway in the spring.

The general contractor on the bridge is Flatiron. As of writing, contracts have not been awarded for the interchanges.

6. 23rd AVENUE INTERCHANGE

The City of Edmonton's $260-million interchange at 23rd Avenue and Calgary Trail/Gateway Boulevard involves building a split-diamond interchange, taking 23rd Avenue over Calgary Trail, Gateway and the railway. Work began last year. The project should be done in 2011.

This year will see the construction of mechanically stabilized earth walls, completion of the westbound part of the 23 Avenue overpass, and east and westbound traffic running over top of Gateway and Calgary Trail.

The general contractor is Kiewit Management. Design, construction monitoring, and contract administration is by Team ISL.

7. WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANT EXPANSION

The $226-million, three-phase expansion of Fort McMurray's waste water treatment plant is almost complete, with finishing touches being carried out this year. The plant, designed to serve a population of up to 133,000, will reclaim waste water and return it to the environment in pristine condition.

The regional municipality chose to design and build the facility with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver in mind, including such features as on-site recycling facilities, forms of heat recovery, and water efficient landscaping. If the plant wins the Silver designation, it will be the first waste water or water treatment plant in the country to receive such certification.
Bird Construction Co. is the general contractor. The project manager is Associated Engineering Alberta Ltd., and design is by Aecom.

8. Quesnell Bridge and Whitemud Drive-Edmonton

This $181-million widening and rehabilitation project that began a few weeks ago will see Edmonton's busiest bridge get a longevity-enhancing overhaul. Quesnell Bridge, built in 1967, is expected to last another 50 years after construction wraps up in November 2010.

This year, the westbound lanes of Whitemud Drive will be widened, as will the east sides of both the Quesnell Bridge and the overpass on Fox Drive. Construction of retaining walls, an entrance to Fort Edmonton Park, and a multi-use trail west of the bridge is also planned for 2009.

The general contractor is ConCreate USL Ltd.

9. GLENMORE WATER TREATMENT PLANT UPGRADES AND EXPANSION

Part of the City of Calgary's commitment to ensure an adequate water supply for its growing population, meet water standards and improve the environmental sustainability of the Bearspaw and Glenmore water treatment plants, the $180-million Glenmore Water Treatment Plant upgrades and expansion have been ongoing since 2004. When construction wraps up in 2011, the plant will boast better clarification, filtration, liquid chlorine, and de-chlorination systems.
The general contractor: PCL Construction Management Inc. and the prime consultant is Associated Engineering.

10. STONY PLAIN INTERCHANGE

Work has started for Alberta Transportation on a desperately needed interchange at Stony Plain Road and Anthony Henday Drive. Pegged to cost about $300 million, the government has been able to secure a design-build contract at just $168.6 million. The design-build method of delivery will get the interchange up and running faster than would the traditional method of delivery.

The general contractor and design is by KMC/PCL, a joint venture between Kiewit and PCL.


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