Top Projects 2011: Civil/Winner

Northwest Anthony Henday Drive

The northwest leg of Anthony Henday Drive is a 21-kilometre section of Edmonton's ring road that runs from Yellowhead Trail to the Manning Drive Freeway.

The project consists of 15 different construction sites along the stretch of four- and six-lane divided highway. Highlights include:

  • Additional basic and auxiliary lanes
  • Eight interchanges
  • Five flyovers
  • Two rail crossings
  • Twenty-nine bridge structures

Teamwork was essential for the success of the new stretch of highway, which officially opened in November. The design proposed by the construction team improved the constructability, shortened the construction timeline and decreased project costs by more than $15 million. In fact, Alberta Transportation had previously recognized the redesign of two major interchanges on the project with the Minister's Award for Transportation Innovation.

Throughout construction, the project was plagued by extremely cold and wet weather. This was a major issue for the project team because the new roadway and associated grading and subgrading required the soil to be dry.

A number of environmental factors were also taken into consideration during the life of the project. For example, to mitigate the potential loss of rare plants known to occur within the proposed road alignment, plants within the disturbance zone were transplanted to different sites. In addition, vegetation clearing was completed in the autumn to avoid disturbances to natural habitats during key spring breeding times. Erosion controls were also put into place to minimize potential sediment release into local water bodies, including fish-bearing waters such as Kirk Lake. Finally, in compensation for loss of wetlands within the construction area, a plan was put in place to create new wetlands in the form of naturalized stormwater management facilities.

Other challenges included traffic management due to construction intersecting pre-existing highways and roads in the area. Various lane, ramp and road closures were put into effect during construction, but for short periods of time, and on evenings and weekends when possible. Standard closures ranged from one to 2.5 days. In all cases, detours were planned and a six-lane detour was constructed in November of 2008 to alleviate driver delays.

Completion of this latest leg to the ring-road project means that only one more section of the Henday remains before motorists can have a free-flowing drive around the capital city.


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