Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersTwo Projects – Different Eras; Different Tools; Similar Results

Two Projects – Different Eras; Different Tools; Similar Results


Over the course of the authors career as a Transportation Design Engineer he has had
the great privilege of participating in a wide variety of design projects, two of which
book-end his career. The first, Whitemud Drive, was designed over a number of years
and completed in the late 80’s by a small design team where the author participated as
a Geometric Design Engineer. The second, the Highway 63 / Highway 686, Parsons
Interchange, was completed in 2013 in a relatively short period of time by a much larger
team where he participated as the Project Coordinator.
Whitemud Drive is an urban freeway extending approximately 27 kilometres across the
south side of Edmonton from Anthony Henday West to Anthony Henday East. The
author was an active participant as the design engineer for the easterly 18.5 kilometres
extending from the North Saskatchewan River to Highway 14, now renamed Anthony
Henday East. The design components included nine diamond interchanges, two flyovers,
one major stream crossing and one railway grade separation. The Highway 63 /
Highway 686, Parsons Interchange is a rural systems interchange that in its ultimate
configuration will include approximately 7.5 kilometres of highway, seven bridge
structures and a myriad of associated ramps. As Project Coordinator the author was
responsible for managing a design team that included in-house designers and several
subconsultant specialists.
This paper discusses the processes that were involved then and now in completing the
designs of the two projects including the design tools and drafting processes (including
tools and techniques); It will look at the methodologies used in the calculation of tender
quantities and the preparation of cost estimates and will discuss the advances made in
design software; it will compare the end result of the two design processes and lastly it
will present the authors opinion on the sacrifices that have resulted from these
advances including a lost understanding of the basic geometric functions that are key to
geometric design and quantity calculation and the potential loss of the understanding of
basic design principles that form the basis of the TAC Geometric Design Manual.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Geometric Design - Learning from the Past
Billier, R.
Geometric design