Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersResolving Network Hierarchy with an Unconventional Core C/D Highway Concept, Highway 63, Fort McMurray.

Resolving Network Hierarchy with an Unconventional Core C/D Highway Concept, Highway 63, Fort McMurray.


Highway 63 through Fort McMurray is the Provincial Highway linking south-central Alberta with the oil-sands north of Fort McMurray and the only link between the downtown Fort McMurray core and outlying residential communities, commercial and industrial zones, and the oil sands mine sites. Highway 63 includes four intersections and two interchanges in the 7.5km long section between King Street and Confederation Way, resulting in an average 1.4km spacing. The minimum spacing for efficient freeway operation is 2km. The current 4-lane, signalized semi-urban roadway serves both local commuters and longer-distance travelers and carries an average 50,000 vehicles per day across the Athabasca River. The level-ofservice along the signalized section is unstable, where a minor traffic incident can cause 3km long queues and 2-hour delays. This section is closely bounded by a densely built commercial strip on the east side and a geotechnically sensitive hillside on the west, making conventional grade separation measures difficult to implement without serious constructability and business impacts. Trucks haul over-sized loads from the Edmonton Region to the mine sites north of Fort McMurray on a daily basis, requiring wide, high clearances, affecting bridge structures, utilities and traffic control devices. These trucks travel to the mine sites during low traffic volumes in the early morning, requiring municipal staff to perform traffic control and swing the traffic signal heads out of the way at two existing interchanges. The study purpose was to identify a free-flow solution that: o Accommodates through-movement and local CBD access. o Facilitates movement of over-sized loads. o Minimizes impacts to commercial properties along the highway. o Minimizes risks associated with the poor stability along the west side. Conventional freeway alternatives either failed operationally with the short interchange spacing or introduced unacceptable impacts and costs. A Core-C/D Concept met project objectives, and minimized property impacts. This solution uses high-speed Core lanes with low-speed signalized C/D lanes. The C/D lanes intersect each cross-road in place of the conventional interchange ramps.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Devos, H
Rebus, B
Furtado, G