Edmonton’s Ring Road: The Final Link
The Alberta Government hired the joint venture team of Flatiron-Dragados-Aecom-Lafarge to build the final leg of Edmonton’s ring road—the Northeast Anthony Henday—finalizing a key piece of transportation infrastructure for the capital region.
“The vision to build the Edmonton Ring Road began more than 40 years ago,” said premier Ed Stelmach. “We committed to finishing this very important piece of highway infrastructure, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. This is about making the strategic infrastructure investments now that will support this region and this province’s growth into the future.”
Sections of the ring road were built in the 1970s and 1990s, with the current premier Anthony Henday Drive project beginning in the 2000s with the construction of the southwest section. This project consists of 27 kilometers of new six- and eight-lane divided roadway, eight interchanges, nine flyovers and two river structures—a total of 46 bridge structures.
The Government of Alberta decided to use its public-private partnership model to build this segment of the Anthony Henday Drive from Manning Drive to Whitemud Drive (in the east). Using the P3 process, FDAL will finish the final link of the Ring Road three years earlier than a conventional delivery.
“Investing in our provincial highway network supports thousands of jobs today, lays the foundation for future economic growth and supports our communities,” said minister of transportation Luke Ouellette. “This final leg of the Edmonton Ring Road will be Alberta’s
single largest highway construction project to date. It is a key part of our province’s world-class transportation network as we continue to invest to support the safe and efficient movement of people and goods.”
The joint-venture team’s biggest task will be the segment that includes Yellowhead Trail. “The most difficult challenge will be segment three, which is the Yellowhead Trail/Anthony Henday Drive intersection,” said Flatiron project manager Kent Peyton. “It requires complex staging for the 25 bridge structures—more than half of the entire project’s structures—to be coordinated with all the existing traffic.”
Utilities are also included in the list of challenges. With more than 500 utilities located within the project boundaries, the team is anticipating 292 relocations and protections and are planning on spending significant time coordinating with the utility companies.
Northeast Anthony Henday is the largest highway construction project Alberta has ever seen. The joint venture team, subcontractors and suppliers will work four million man-hours building the project—that’s an average of 500 employees working full-time every week for more than four years. Yet, the project is happening while the province of Alberta endures a labor shortage and closing in on traditionally poor winter weather. The project is a strict four-year contract, and everyone will be expected to work year-round, battling the subzero temperatures of the Canadian winters, while minimizing impacts on daily traffic and businesses, and finishing the project on time and on-budget.
With all of these considerations, completing the job will be a great accomplishment for everyone involved. Upon completion (slated for 2016), Anthony Henday Drive will be the first free-flowing ring road in Canada, where an estimated 40,000 motorists will use it on a daily basis.