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Parsons Interchange – Efficient Transportation – Managing Demand


Up until the most recent collapse in oil prices Fort Mac Murray was one of the fastest growing
communities in Alberta. This rapid growth created challenges in providing new areas for
residential development and overtaxed transportation infrastructure.
Highway 63 is the main artery to and through the City providing access from residential areas to
downtown as well as connecting the City to the oil sands production centre to the north. The
movement of all goods, services and personnel must funnel on-to as well as off-of this major
In response to the demand for residential development, Alberta Infrastructure initiated the
development of the Parsons Subdivision located at the north edge of the City. The proposed
subdivision will eventually accommodate 25,000 people along with the related services and
amenities. Alberta Transportation accepted the challenge of providing access from the area on
to Highway 63.
Calling on the lessons learned while playing a similar role on similar projects immediately
south, and taking advantage of the opportunity to address anticipated transportation demands
both east and west of the City, Alberta Transportation undertook the development of a major
systems interchange that would immediately access the proposed residential area and have the
capacity to extend to the resource areas and communities west of the City as well as to provide
connectivity across the Athabasca River to the east with accessibility to alternative routes to the
east and south.
This Paper will discuss the planning that went into the project to ensure that it provided the
capacity and service anticipated in the long term while acknowledging budget restraints through
staged development.
The paper will also discuss the challenges faced during construction in terms terrain and the
difference in elevation between Highway 63 and the proposed subdivision; the placement of
significant fills on wet alluvial and colluvial soils with resulting pore pressure dissipation
problems; the movement of several million cubic metres of material across Highway 63 and the
construction of a major bridge structure all in a short construction duration.
The paper will look at lessons learned and present recommendations for consideration on
similar projects in the future.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Geometric Design - Lessons Learned
Billier, R.
Pestano, I.
Trefanenko, G.
Geometric design