Suncor Athabasca River Bridge - Ft. McMurray, Alberta
This fast-track $25 million project involved the design and construction of a 391-metre-long by 22.5-metre-wide, five-span bridge crossing the Athabasca River south of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Completed in October 1997, the bridge provides access to Suncor's Steepbank Mine. The substructure consists of two abutments founded on 914-milimetre-diameter piles, driven 30-metres into limestone bedrock. Four river piers, consisting of two 2.5-metre-diameter steel caissons, were driven through 15 to 30 metres of overburden, before being cleaned out and drilled to a depth of 16 metres. Access to the river piers was achieved using a 33.5-metre by 15.2-metre sectional flexifloat barge.
During the winter of 1996, the project team used an ice bridge to accelerate and simplify the supply and erection of 2,000 tonnes of structural steel substructure. This innovative design gave access to the Steepbank Mine 14 months sooner than anticipated at a lower cost than a conventional design, and reduced environmental impacts. A specifically designed 22.5-metre-wide by 250-milimetre to 450-milimitre-thick cast-in-place deck accommodates the client's need to erect pipe corridors required for transferring the tar sand slurry, and moving 330-ton haul trucks across the new bridge.