The Southwest Calgary Ring Road (SWCRR) consists of 31 km of new six-lane and eight-lane divided highway with 14 interchanges and 49 bridges in total. Built between Highway 8 near the Elbow Springs Golf Course and Macleod Trail S.E., the ring road can move both goods and people safely and efficiently across the province and country, and further to foreign ports.
The bridge structures include three river crossings over the Elbow River and one at Fish Creek, as well as three watercourse realignments and additional pre-grading for future interchanges.
Alberta Transportation’s $1.42 billion investment in this Design-Build-Finance-Operate (DBFO) project generated thousands of jobs in the province over the project’s five-year construction period.
COWI was responsible for the bid and detailed design of 12 bridges ranging in types including three ~200 ft. long single span steel girder bridges with skewed integral abutments behind MSE walls, seven precast prestressed concrete girder bridges of 4-5 spans each, a two-span curved post-tensioned CIP box girder bridge, a pedestrian bridge with four main concrete girder spans and a five-span CIP curved approach, along with associated retaining walls for each bridge.
Our innovative approach by flipping an interchange during the bid design, made it possible to reduce structure cost and to optimize the layout of a bridge site to simplify and reduce retaining walls. The optimizations continued in final design by switching a structure type from curved steel girders to a cast-in-place post-tensioned box after steel prices came in higher than anticipated and getting approval on a design variance request to use a single-line of bearings diaphragm detail on long multi-span bridges.
The Project was designed to accommodate traffic volumes projected for the next 30 years, which are estimated to be between 80,000 and 100,000 vehicles per day on some sections. It is a part of a larger regional effort to enhance safe and efficient transportation in and around Calgary, reducing overall traffic congestion and providing effective routes for commercial vehicles taking goods across the province, country and to foreign ports.