Top Projects 2009: Civil/Winner

Northeast Stoney Trail

Northeast Stoney Trail, a 21 km section of Calgary's long-awaited ring road, wraps up this year after about 31 months of construction.

One of Alberta's innovative public-private partnership transportation (P3) infrastructure projects, the fixed-price, $650-million stretch of road has already received the 2009 Minister's Award of Excellence for Process Innovation.

The award recognized Aecom's solution to the permitting process and stormwater management design necessary to protect wetlands in the area. Aecom, lead designer for the design-build team Stoney Trail Constructors, a joint venture led by Flatiron Constructors Corp. and including partners Graham Construction & Engineering and Parsons Transportation Group, developed a unique partnership among all stakeholders.

A peer audit process that included members of Alberta Environment, Alberta Transportation, and the City of Calgary helped develop risk analyses, and reviewed drainage plan models. Thanks to the audit and the early involvement of all stakeholders, review processes were shortened and the resulting drainage plan met the requirements for wetland compensation as well as those of the municipality.

By involving the stakeholders in determining wetland compensation and drainage design, Aecom shortened timelines, making scheduling and cost estimation easier. Approval of the concepts and design was also obtained throughout the development stage, allowing wetland compensation approvals to be provided on site, a first for Alberta's P3 projects. Ultimately, the innovative solution saved a year of construction because drainage controls could be installed earlier than would have been possible otherwise.

Northeast Stoney Trail consists of four- and six-lane sections of freeway, six interchanges, two new railway bridges, two existing railway bridges, and one signalized intersection. The Alberta government chose a P3 delivery model to get the roadway built as quickly as possible for the best price.

"What stands out is the ability of the contractor to innovate and improvise without delaying the project," says Trent Bancarz, spokesman for Alberta Transportation. Design changes such as an alteration to the 16th Avenue interchange were made during construction and handled without getting off schedule.

Concludes Bancarz: "This ability to innovate, and the flexibility afforded by the P3 procurement process, are reasons why the P3 model is a good way to build large-scale projects."

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