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  • Writer's pictureSaqib Khan

New Athabasca River Bridge: Construction Update Feb 2024

Updated: Mar 15

The construction of the new Athabasca River Bridge along Highway 813 in Alberta is under progress. Spannovation, on behalf of N-Force Crane & Equipment Ltd., is providing construction engineering for the erection of approximately 1600 tonnes of structural steel in four girder lines. The replacement bridge, designed by COWI, is 259m long and has a span arrangement of 80m - 99m - 80m with two piers in the river. Upon completion, it will support two lanes of traffic and a sidewalk.

The first phase of construction is currently advancing from the west abutment to field splice 4. This phase uses a berm installed in the river by General Contractor Alberco Construction Ltd, extending from the west abutment to approximately 38m east of Pier 2 (west pier). Two cranes, a 400T crawler LR1400 and a 500T mobile crane LTM 1500, are being used to lift the segments.

The initial erection stage involves installing 21.5m long, 52-tonne pier girder segments (Segment 3) by the crawler positioned adjacent to the pier. These are stabilized by a temporary tower placed 10m to the east of the pier and secured with transverse and longitudinal restraints against construction winds. Segments 1 and 2 are spliced behind the west abutment in a staging area, forming a 71m girder segment. This is followed by the assembly of two girder pairs by connecting cross frames, each weighing approximately 200 tonnes.

The erection procedure for the pairs begins with the south pair (girder lines 1 + 2). The west end of this pair is supported on a trailer and maneuvered backward as the east end is lifted by the LTM 1500. The pair is launched to a specific distance until the mobile crane's maximum radius limit is reached; at this point the crawler (positioned on the berm) gradually takes over the support of the east end using a load transfer triangle. The mobile crane then disengages, and the pair is driven back further until the trailer wheels reach the safe limit of the abutment fill. The mobile crane then hoists the west end in a tandem lift with the crawler to position the pair with the west end resting on the abutment and the east end aligned with the previously erected pier segment for air-splicing. This process is repeated for the north girder pair.

Current updates from the site photos show that the spliced segments 1 + 2 are positioned behind the west abutment and have been paired (G1 + G2 for south pair and G3 + G4 for north pair). Construction of Pier 2 is underway, with the final curing process being carried out. Stay tuned for more updates as this significant project continues to unfold.

Significant project parties include:

Owner: Alberta Transportation

Designer: COWI

General Contractor: Alberco Construction Ltd

Construction Engineer: Spannovation Consulting

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