City of Airdrie’s new highway interchange improves traffic flow and shortens commutes
December 18, 2023
The City of Airdrie is one of the fastest growing communities in Alberta, with a population exceeding 80,000 in 2023. Access in-and-out of Airdrie via Highway 2 was limited to two highway exits. Traffic using Yankee Valley Boulevard was often delayed by the at-grade Canadian Pacific Railway train movements. The interchange at Highway 2 and 40th Avenue was identified by the Government of Alberta as a necessary project in the early 2000's.
In 2017, the City of Airdrie engaged Associated Engineering to be the lead consultant for the design of the highway interchange, 40th Avenue roadway, and five bridges. Associated's team designed the bridges, stormwater, and Highway 2 electrical roadway lighting. A subconsultant designed the roadway geometrics, traffic signals, and civil design of the Nose Creek channel realignment with Associated's Environmental team designing the Nose Creek realignment revegetation and providing regulatory services. Later, the project expanded to include the construction of the six-lane 40th Avenue corridor, with a half interchange at Highway 2, three new bridges, a new twin Structural Plate Corrugated Steel Pipe culvert bridge with Nose Creek realignment and bridge widening over the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Associated and the City brought forward lessons learned from previous projects working over/adjacent to railway lines. Regular communication with Canadian Pacific Railway was established to schedule work and provide early warning of critical activities impacting their asset.
Associated and the City, in coordination with Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors, had Highway 2 posted to 80 km/hr for the duration of the project as a safety measure. Temporary barriers or requested lane closures also helped to provide a safe working area.
The City of Airdrie, Associated, and the contractor (EllisDon) maintained a collaborative relationship throughout the project, which helped the team overcome several challenges to successfully deliver the project under-budget and on-time. For example, construction industry trades were over-extended by multiple mega-projects in the greater Calgary region. The contractor worked with subtrades to secure resources to limit impact on the project. The project partners managed costs by maintaining open lines of communication, assessing risks, and reviewing costs and budgets.
Associated Environmental worked with regulators to obtain the necessary permits. A summary memo of the permits, conditions, and references was provided to the project team for ease of monitoring, ensuring regulatory compliance was communicated in a simple and straight forward manner.
The project was subject to the requirements of the Nose Creek Watershed Management Plan. The City, landowner, and Alberta Environment and Parks collaborated to evaluate options and maximize opportunities for the successful resolution of the alignment and crossing for Nose Creek. The approach reduced disruption to the existing creek to the extent possible and diminished land severance and acquisition.
The new east-west connection will allow the King’s Heights Fire Station to better service southwest Airdrie neighbourhoods by reducing travel time and provide these areas with direct access to commercial and recreational facilities, as well as the City of Calgary. Residents have reported that, since the opening of the interchange in October 2023, their commuting time has been reduced by 15 to 20 minutes.
The new, $83 million interchange will benefit future land development in the area that is currently constrained due to transportation capacity. A future development area of about 36,000 residential units is planned over a 30-year period.
Key Associated personnel included Peter Grant, Scott Etzel, Kevin Ho, Christa Luckasavitch, Joseph Wang, Larry Mouland, Lisbeth Medina, Eliman Camara, Howard Mariano, Jenna Gillman, Kourtney Cameron, Jim Zagas, and Jon Wiens.