Earthmoving equipment and bridge pilings will continue to be a fixture on St. Albert’s southern boundary as construction moves ahead on Anthony Henday Drive.
Mark Basher, deputy project manager of the northwest ring road, said he’ll utilize a team of up to 300 workers this summer to complete the $1.42-billion project by fall 2011. Much of that activity will be focused on building interchanges near St. Albert.
“We’re happy with the progress to date,” said Basher, of Flatiron-Graham-Parsons, the construction arm of the project. “We’re still looking at opportunities to accelerate the schedule. But to date weather has been generally favourable.”
Crews are working along the length of the ring road alignment, however the last nine months have been a flurry of activity in the west end near St. Albert. Basher said crews purposefully started in the west end near Yellowhead Trail due to super-saturated clay soil that’s susceptible to consolidation.
“Before we do the permanent bridge structures there we have to wait for that consolidation to cease. It’s a time thing,” he said.
Basher said soil around the site has to be “wick drained” to accelerate the consolidation. That’s a process where geotextile wicks are pushed into the ground to prompt moisture to rise to the surface. Much of that work happened over the winter, he said.
Basher said the bulk of heavy earthmoving is happening at the Yellowhead Trail interchange. Work started last week on bridge girders, which will precede construction on the deck. The activity has reduced westbound traffic to one lane from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. until June 12.
Bridge construction has also started at the 184th Street/Ray Gibbon Drive interchange, although progress is not as advanced.
Crews have completed pile driving at the bridge for the 170th Street flyover, where concrete for the foundation will soon be poured. Pile driving will soon commence at 137th Avenue.
Piling is also complete at the St. Albert Trail bridge, where concrete crews will soon be on site. Basher anticipates that bridge will be mostly complete by the end of the construction season.
Further east on Campbell Road, construction will prompt a traffic detour when 167th Avenue is closed between 142nd Street and Campbell Road starting July 1. A detour road will be built Basher said, however it will only accommodate westbound traffic. Eastbound motorists will have to find alternate routes.
“We haven’t finalized the total arrangement there, but whatever is going to happen is going to commence July 1,” he said.
In the vicinity along St. Albert’s southern boundary, crews will continue relocating underground utilities in the transportation utility corridor (TUC). Basher said water and sewer mains are next to move. Overall, utility relocation is about 35 per cent complete, he said.