July 30, 2008, the Alberta government signed a 30-year contract with Northwest Connect General Partnership for the finance, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a new freeway around Edmonton.
Construction began at Highway 16 in the west, and is scheduled to end at Manning Drive in the east; making the six-lane divided freeway more than 21 km long. The Northwest Anthony Henday Drive Project (NWAHD) is the third phase of the ring road construction around the perimeter of the city, and one of many major P3 project consortiums that AIL has been involved with.
Known throughout the country for quality products and timely service, AIL was selected to provide an innovative wall solution to accompany the massive highway development. This project had its challenges – such as short timelines and mid-production design changes – but our team was quick to react.
With the NWAHD project well underway, AIL has kept pace with an aggressive production schedule.
“Generally it takes approximately six weeks from the time we receive drawings to the time material can be delivered to site,” says AIL Project Manager, Mark Johnson. But in this case, six weeks was too long, and we had to deliver the walls as quickly as possible.
Our team took many steps to ensure we came in on time.
“We never allowed a lag between receiving information and starting the designs,” explains Johnson. “And we would get advance information so we could start working on layouts before running the designs. Essentially, we would look for ways to move the project forward.”
We were thrown an unexpected curveball when the contractor made design changes midway through production, but we still sped along.
“Changes during construction are dealt with by being in close communication with the customer,” explains Johnson. “When the contractor changes things, it’s important that we understand the change and react accordingly. This means that we need to stay flexible, but also be able to communicate what impact changes will have to the project.”
By carefully watching the clock, focusing on communication, and making use of every minute, the AIL team was able to reduce delivery times by half. The finished wall systems went out only three weeks after receiving the first drawings of the project.
To date we’ve supplied: 22 precast false abutment walls on 11 bridge sites, 2 two-stage false abutment walls and 21 wire backwalls. Combined, these projects have an approximate total wall area of more than 14,500 square meters.
The construction phase is scheduled to end in November 2011.