Terry BourqueWhen the city of Edmonton set out at the turn of the century to create its very own Ring Road, a beltway encircling the city, no one could have anticipated the growth the city would face.
Projections in 2001 initially estimated 40,000 vehicles would use the beltway each day by 2030; according to the Edmonton Journal, that number was already reached in 2009.
Even before 2009, it had become evident that the design of the newly built roadway posed problems for commuters. Intersections and stoplights that had originally been designed in were causing traffic jams shortly after the Ring Road opened to vehicles in 2006.
As the highway also known as Anthony Henday Drive grew in popularity and new developments went up in the south that created new pockets of congestion, the traffic lights led to bottlenecks that had city engineers quickly rethinking the design. To do away with the lights without sacrificing driver safety on the heavily-trafficked road, the Department of Transportation revamped the design to add overpass bridges and flyovers to sections along the four-lane highway.
Built in 2011, the Cameron Heights Bridge was one of over 100 bridges constructed on the 78-kilometer roadway; its opening did away with the last of the much-despised stoplights and eased traffic flow.
While the bridge itself is quite ordinary in appearance, its design is extraordinary, as the Alberta Department of Transportation requires a 100-year lifespan on all new roadway construction.
Long, cold winters in Edmonton, the capital of the Canadian province, Alberta, mean that more often than not, corrosive de-icing salts are in use on the roadways. That’s why Outokumpu Forta DX 2304 stainless steel rebar, with its corrosion-resistance properties, has become the DoT’s alloy of choice and was chosen for use in the Cameron Heights Bridge. Long, cold winters in Edmonton likewise posed a challenge, as the weather limited the window of time in which construction took place to less than six months. No problem, though, for Outokumpu, which delivered 356 tonnes of Outokumpu Forta DX 2304 rebar in coil and lengths to make sure the bridge was open to traffic before the winter of 2011 – a relief for the frustrated commuters, who finally got a break on their way home from a long day of work.
And the DoT can take a breath as well; virtually maintenance-free, the stainless steel will also lead to reduced life-cycle costs, helping the Alberta DoT to avoid costly repair work over the next century.