Top Projects 2011: Civil/Runner-Up

W-12 Syphon and River Crossing, Athabasca River Bridge, and Fort Edmonton's Capitol Theatre


For more than 100 years, the City of Edmonton has been practicing trenchless tunnel construction. The W-12 syphon and river crossing, completed in May, is the most recent project to be built using the latest tunnelling technology.

The $27.3-million project is the product of five years of planning and construction by the City of Edmonton Drainage Services' Design and Construction team. Featuring a 2,400-metre siphon crossing under the North Saskatchewan River, it is part of the city's long-term sanitary servicing plan.

Understandably, the project had its challenges, including cold temperatures and water flowing into the project. Geotechnical conditions also posed risks: the project was located within the footprint of abandoned coalmines, and methane gas, under pressure, was present.

A new tunnel-boring machine was purchased to deal with the ground conditions.

The project is expected to reduce sewer overflow discharge into the river by up to 75 per cent, improving water quality. The city worked with Associated Engineering Group Ltd. for preliminary design and Thurber Engineering Ltd. for geotechnical consulting.


The completion of the $136-million Athabasca River Bridge brings much-needed infrastructure to the Fort McMurray, Alta., region. The 472-metre-long, seven-span bridge on Highway 63 adds five traffic lanes, improving safety and reducing congestion on the main corridor between the city and the oilsands facilities.

Much of the bridge was constructed using a unique launched-girder technique that minimized environmental impacts on the river. Launching 10 girders simultaneously-one of the widest highway bridge launches in North America-was also faster.

To accommodate oilsands development, the bridge was built to bear more than three times the weight most bridges bear-1,100-tonne loads. It's possible to expand the bridge up to 10 lanes.

CH2M HILL designed the bridge, while Flatiron Construction Corp. was the general contractor and Stantec Inc. was the primary consultant. Infinity Engineering Group served as construction engineers and Surespan Construction Ltd. handled steel construction.


The reconstruction of the Capitol Theatre at Fort Edmonton Park is the first of what will be many enhancements within the park.

The Capitol Threatre provides a year-round 250-seat entertainment venue for local drama, theatre and music. The reconstructed theatre building recreates the former 1929 Jasper Avenue facade, and internally the building incorporates modern construction methods with the necessary technical infrastructure while still achieving historical authenticity.

The Capitol Threatre project was delivered through a construction management process by PCL Construction Management. The project was built using traditional construction methods, but with the full use of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Changes during construction were automatically updated to BIM and those changes were made in the model. And clash detection was used to provide the look ahead as it related to design changes and to avoid rework during the construction phase.

Artisan Design was the architect on the project. Other key players included Stantec Structural, Williams Engineering Canada and HIP.

2015 ACM Email Button


Free account to gain access to ACM digital editions.