The Department of Works Services and Transportation (WST), Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, began conceptual planning for the St. John’s OuterRingRoad inthe early 1970's. The project would be anextensionofthe Trans Canada Highway. It would consist ofthe constructionof 21 kilometers of four lane high speed highway (Rural Arterial Divided 100 km/hr), and a 2 kilometer major link road (Bifurcation Road) into the main commercialportionofthe city. The work would include ten interchanges connecting with major urban roads requiring overpass/ underpass structures and construction of other structures over minor roads.
The road construction would take place in the northernportionofSt.John’s and through anarea ofurban/institutionalparkland known as the C.A. Pippy Park. The originalplanned routingwas not within the park, but the park boundaries were expanded to include a much larger land area which encompassed much of the road right of way. The park contains many hiking trails, undisturbed natural areas, and public open space. Also, the many trout streams to be crossed during construction through this area have some of the highest unit biomass ofbrown trout found anywhere intheworld.These factors, combined witha significant amount of public concern about the project, dictated a need for a high level of environmental protection and good public relations if the project was to proceed.
A professional / technical team within WST were assigned to the project. Team members consisted of senior design and project management engineers,senior policyand environmentalplanners, and associated technical staff. The environmental planning and assessment for the project were scrutinized judicially stemming from a submissionto the FederalCourt challenging the project. The Court judgement concurred with WST and the project, and work proceeded.