Project Details

Primary contractor
Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation
$139.5 million
April 2008
Start Date
June 2011
Completion Date

Building Athabasca River Bridge

Flatiron constructed the Athabasca River Bridge in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, approximately 270 miles north of Edmonton. The 108-foot-wide, 1,548-foot-long bridge deck is the largest in Alberta. The stout structure was built to accommodate more than three times the average weight of most bridges, with a capacity of 1,100-metric-ton loads.

This project is needed to facilitate the accelerated development of an area of the Alberta Oil Sands, a natural resource that can be processed into lightweight crude oil and associated fuels. The city of Ft. McMurray, which exists to support the Oil Sands, has nearly doubled in population in the past five years. Highway 63 runs north-south through the center of Ft. McMurray and is heavily congested, particularly during shift changes at the local mines. Here Flatiron constructed a new steel girder bridge parallel to existing bridges. The bridge added five lanes to the previous four-lane configuration, and eventually expanded to a total of 10 lanes.

1,548-foot-long steel girder bridge

Increase capacity from five to nine lanes

Additional construction of secant pile-founded bridge

Flatiron engineers used a unique method to incrementally launch and position the steel girders, which are some of the heaviest ever used. The structural steel is corrosion resistant and built to withstand extreme temperatures, and the bridge is designed to carry heavy loads, such as reactors carried by 130-axle trucks traveling in and out of the oil sands. Flatiron also constructed a smaller, secant pile-founded bridge to carry Highway 63 traffic over Franklin Avenue.

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Alberta Transportation and Civil Engineering Division
Minister’s Award of Excellence in Transportation Innovation 2011
Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association
Environmental Award 2011
Alberta Construction Magazine
Top Projects Runner-up, Civil Construction Category 2011
American Concrete Institute, Alberta Chapter
Award of Excellence in Concrete 2011