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2017 Minister’s Awards for Transportation Innovation

Recipients of the 2017 Minister’s Awards for Transportation Innovation represent diverse parts of Alberta and assorted areas of expertise.

 

The annual awards recognize the innovative people and organizations in Alberta who plan, design, construct, operate or maintain a roadway, transit service or related initiative.

 

The 2017 awards ceremony was held Monday, March 13 in Red Deer, with the following recipients congratulated by Transportation Minister Brian Mason:

 

 

Award of Excellence for Design Construction

Accelerated Bridge Repair using Cellular Concrete

– MOST Engineering Ltd., TDM Engineering, Cematrix Cellular Concrete Solutions, and Alberta Transportation

 

Ivor Strong Bridge is a vital and high-volume corridor servicing the city of Calgary. When Alberta Transportation set out to replace the deck joints at the abutments, the project team’s inspection revealed the undersides of the roof slabs were severely deteriorated. The slabs were deemed unsafe for the heavy traffic loads.

 

The project team developed a repair strategy using non-structural cellular concrete to fill the voids under the roof slabs. This eliminated the need for extensive repair or replacement. The roof slabs were transformed into slabs-on-grade supported by the cellular concrete and underlying compacted soil.

 

Award of Excellence for Construction Innovation

Ivor Strong Bridge ITS Integration and Traffic Management Project

-ATS Traffic, Ver-Mac Inc, Innovative Civil Constructors Inc, Traffic Solutions Consulting Ltd, MOST Engineering Ltd, TDM Engineering Ltd, and Alberta Transportation

 

The Ivor Strong Bridge is the busiest section of the Deerfoot Trail. When the bridge required rehabilitation work in the spring of 2016, the project was designed to minimize traffic disruptions. Crews worked day and night, seven days a week to complete the project within a two-month window. But some disruptions could not be avoided.

 

To keep traffic moving safely and efficiently, the project team used two separate Intelligent Transportation Systems. An Automated Queue Warning system notified travelers of stopped or slowed traffic ahead. And an Alternative Routes System used real-time traffic data to help road users reach their destinations using less congested alternative routes.

 

Award of Excellence for Environmental Innovation

Southern Alberta Rock Slope Stabilization

– Amec Foster Wheeler, McKnight Enterprises Ltd., and Alberta Transportation

 

As part of the Alberta Transportation flood mitigation program, a study of geohazard sites in southern Alberta was undertaken to assess rock fall, debris flow and flood related hazards.  The project team designed and implemented a solution that included a draped wire mesh system. The system needed to accommodate the movement of Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep across rock faces. The team completed a wildlife study using motion-activated video cameras to capture the sheep’s routes. These paths represent the most common travel paths and essential escape routes used by the sheep. Based on the outcome of the study, sheep path locations were identified and the draped mesh pattern was adjusted to accommodate these paths.

 

Award of Excellence for Safety Innovation

Highway 13 and Highway 21 Roundabout

– Al-Terra Engineering Ltd., Ourston Roundabout Engineering, Border Paving Ltd., and Alberta Transportation

 

Although there were traffic signals at the intersection at Highway 13 and Highway 21, collision rates were two and a half times higher than the provincial average. Left turning vehicles were involved in more than half of the most severe collisions.

 

Alberta Transportation awarded a contract to upgrade the intersection to a roundabout.

 

The project team faced a challenge: how to safely accommodate traffic while minimizing delays during construction. Their solution was to design a temporary detour around the intersection. The detour kept road users moving while isolating construction workers from traffic.  

 

Construction began in July 2015, and was completed in less than six months. The new roundabout has dramatically improved safety for road users by removing all left turn conflict points at the intersection.

 

Award of Excellence for Operational Innovation

Alberta Spatial Economic and Travel Model

– HBA Specto Incorporated, and Alberta Transportation

 

Land use, economic development and transportation are closely linked. Until now, these links were not accounted for by the existing investment analysis tools used by Alberta Transportation.

 

Through the Alberta Spatial Economic and Travel Model, Alberta Transportation has taken a new approach to analyzing investments in transportation infrastructure. This model assesses and quantifies the impacts of transportation facilities on travel demand, land use planning and economic growth. It also evaluates the impacts of economic and land use policies on the transportation network.

The Alberta Spatial Economic and Travel Model is a first for Alberta.

 

Award for Excellence for Transit/Accessible Transportation Innovation

Cold Lake Transit

– City of Cold Lake

 

Cold Lake City Council was determined to provide its community with a public transit system. But many considered the service too costly and complex to succeed in a city with a population of just under 16,000.

 

The Cold Lake Transit System began in early 2015, when the city acquired a fleet of pre-owned buses, which minimized their upfront capital investment. The savings allowed the city to establish a high level of service for its riders.

 

The impact on the community was immediate. In the first four days of service, the transit system had over 2,000 rides on its routes.

Cold Lake Transit has exceeded all expectations. Ridership continues at a steady pace. And the community is proud of its transit system.

 

The award winners were selected in early February by an awards evaluation committee consisting of representatives from Alberta Transportation, Consulting Engineers of Alberta, Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, and the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties.