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Challenges of the Great Bear River Bridge


The Great Bear River Bridge (GBRB) is an important river crossing located on the annually constructed winter road along the Mackenzie Valley, near the community of Tulita, NWT, 1000 km north of the Alberta/Northwest Territories border. In 2004, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) entered into a 50:50 cost-sharing agreement with the Federal Government, under the Canadian Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF), to build a bridge across the Great Bear River. The bridge will be 460m long, at a site located 800m upstream from the confluence of the Great Bear and Mackenzie Rivers. The main challenges on this project include: • Logistics associated with building a large structure at a remote site with limited access. • Limited availability of local resources. • Limited number of capable contractors in the area. • Northern climatic conditions • Budget constraints in a time of rapidly rising construction costs. This paper describes the initiatives undertaken to deliver the project within budget, including the option of utilizing a bridge superstructure from Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation’s surplus inventory. Factors that impact project costs are analysed, and the specific approach adopted for design and project delivery is summarized. Challenges encountered on this project and lessons learned are discussed. The writers conclude that constructability input at the early stages of a project will have a positive affect on project budget and schedule during the construction phase. Finally, recommendations and strategies for future projects are presented.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Nima, M
Lanteigne, M
Wu, Z
Ahmad, N
Bevington, N