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Monday, Nov 04, 2019

Innovative design helps to establish a safe, permanent roadway to Whiteswan Lake

Whelan Bay

Whiteswan Lake is located approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Prince Albert, SK, and is a popular location for boating, fishing, hiking, and camping. It is accessed via provincial Highway 913, the sole method of reaching the nearby resort community of Whelan Bay. Nearly 200 residences are located in the community and it is the home of the provincial Whiteswan Lake Recreational Site

Whiteswan Lake is a closed basin. In recent years, the lake has experienced unprecedented high water levels, which compromised the existing roadway. Flooding necessitating emergency maintenance and closures, leaving the community inaccessible by road.

Mapping of route selection minimized the impact on wetlands and sensitive areas 

As a result, a permanent roadway solution was urgently needed. In Fall 2017, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure retained Associated Engineering to identify options for improving the existing access or, alternately, constructing a portion of new roadway.

Faced with a remote and rugged terrain and the need to fast-track design and construction, our project team employed a unique combination of technology and tools not typically used for designing remote-access roads. 

Whelan Bay

Project Manager, Jeff Horan, tells us, “We used LiDAR survey to create a full basin model, simulated flooding impact using GIS, developed an optimized earthwork design model, and evaluated a number of routing options.” 

The team used tablet devices for field data collection and public consultation. Field Inspectors also used them for construction administration which reduced the need for paper, resulting in a nearly paperless construction project. We also created a tablet-based solution for viewing the information and routing options that provided stakeholders with the opportunity to view the proposed route in real-time on-site on their devices. 

An optimized roadway design was subsequently completed in this rugged, fully treed landscape, while considering environmental constraints, climate impacts, topography, geotechnical and stakeholders’ issues. Jeff explains, “The new roadway provides access at a much better location and will be more cost-effective to operate and maintain in the long-term.” 

Whelan Bay

Associated Engineering completed all aspects of construction management including survey, quality control, environmental, quantity control, stakeholder communication, and project management to build this new roadway, and to decommission the existing road located within Whiteswan Lake flood waters. 

The new 1.1 kilometre long roadway was completed in Fall 2018, ahead of schedule and under budget, providing a stable and safe long-term access to the community of Whelan Bay.