Circle Drive

The Circle Drive South project in Saskatoon, Canada, has been the largest single public construction project in the city to date. Construction work on the $300m project began in May 2010.

The ground-breaking ceremony was held on 28 May 2010 in Diefenbaker Park. In the south-west corner of the park, a small walkway was constructed so the public could follow the progress of the six-lane bridge and eight kilometres of connecting freeway.

Both commercial and non-commercial vehicles are benefited from the project. The road project connects the city with national and international trade routes, and, by reducing travel time, it is forecast that the new road will reduce traffic congestion and harmful gas emissions.

The original completion date for the project was October 2012. The project, however, was delayed due to construction delays owing to bad weather. The project was opened to public in July 2013.

Circle Drive South project

The project is part of the Circle Drive freeway system, which, in turn, is a part of the Provincial and National Highway Systems. The project, together with a new bridge that was built on the South Saskatchewan River, completes the freeway system.

The project comprises a six-lane bridge construction and pedestrian and cyclist paths. Five interchanges were built at Idylwyld Drive, Lorne Avenue, Valley Road and 11th Street West, and Preston Avenue South. A 10km expressway section was constructed from Clarence Avenue to Clancy Drive. The project also consists of three rail-grade separation crossings and noise-reduction walls.

"Construction work on the $300m Circle Drive South project began in May 2010."

In June 2010, 11th Street between Avenue W and Circle Drive was closed for two years to allow construction of the Circle Drive / 11th Street interchange. Until then, traffic was diverted along Fletcher Road and Dundonald Avenue.

The expressway is divided into four to six lanes. A pedestrian and cyclist facility has also been created to cross the South Saskatchewan River for access to the MVA Trails.

Contractors

The design and build contract was awarded to Graham Flatiron joint venture in March 2010. The preliminary design and project alignment of the bridge were carried out by Stantec Consulting.

The design and build subcontract was given to AECOM in 2010. The company, acting as lead designer, was responsible for supplying design services to the new south bridge. The company also renders its services to railway, environmental site-remediation, and storm-water and noise-reduction wall facilities.

Financing

The cost of the road project was $300m. It was funded by various government agencies: the Federal Government contributed $96m, the Provincial Government $98.5m, the City of Saskatoon $100m and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park funded $200,000.

After the bidding process, the Federal Government’s contribution was slashed by $10m, as the winner’s bid was well below the initial projected investment.

"The new six-lane bridge over South Saskatchewan River helps improve traffic flow in Saskatoon’s downtown core."

The contractors received around $48m for land acquisition, geotechnical and on-site planning.

South Saskatchewan River bridge construction

The new six-lane bridge over the South Saskatchewan River is an important part of the project. It functions as a bypass, helping improve traffic flow in Saskatoon’s downtown core. It also reduces traffic congestion on the Sid Buckwold Bridge.

Based on current traffic modelling, the bridge is expected to serve 30,000 vehicles a day once the city population reaches 250,000 (population growth rate 2.8%). The third, high-speed river crossing helps reduce transit time for people and goods to and from the city.

The Federal and provincial governments allocated $86.5m for the construction of the bridge.