As the only route through Fort McMurray, Highway 63 is one of Alberta’s busiest and most critical highways. In response to dramatically increasing traffic volumes and congestion, Alberta Transportation turned to us (as part of a larger team) to develop a solution. The result? A $400 million plan to upgrade the highway by expanding the road from six to ten traffic lanes, improving two existing bridges, adding Alberta's largest bridge, and replacing signalized intersections with free-flow interchanges and connections to provide direct access in and out of downtown.
Geotechnical, environmental, utility, and right-of-way constraints posed challenges and a simple widening was not possible. Nearly two kilometres of retaining walls up to nine metres high were needed to accommodate the new roadway. As a critical route with evolving funding opportunities and constraints, a traditional design-bid-build project delivery approach was used. Alternative construction methodologies and contractor flexibility were encouraged allowing the project to open months ahead of schedule. Combining innovative design and delivery, the team kept Fort McMurray moving with less inconvenience and within a shorter timeframe.