The Anthony Henday Drive is a freeway-standard roadway that skirts the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It has been designated as Highway 216 and is also known as the Edmonton Ring Road. The ring road was opened to traffic in October 2016.

Construction on the north-eastern section of Anthony Henday Drive started right after the contractual award in May 2012. The road was built at a cost of $1.81bn under a public-private partnership (PPP).

An estimated 50,000 motorists use the Anthony Henday Drive every day. It is the first free-flowing ring road in Canada.

Anthony Henday Drive background

The Anthony Henday Drive is an important part of the Transportation Utility Corridor (TUC), which was originally developed in the late 1970s by the governments of Alberta and Edmonton to provide the city with long-term alignment for a future ring road and major linear utilities, such as high-voltage transmission lines and underground gas and oil pipelines.

The route of the ring road had been largely determined when the state government acquired most of the land required for the UTC during the 1980s and 1990s. The current Anthony Henday Drive project started in 2000.

South West, South East, North East and North West are the four sections of Anthony Henday Drive that form the ring road.

The South West section of the roadway was finished in 2006, becoming completely free-flowing in November 2011. South-East was finished in October 2007 while North West was completed in November 2011.

North East Anthony Henday Drive project components

The NEAHD (North East Anthony Henday Drive) project was undertaken to complete the remaining 9km section of the Anthony Henday Drive. The route, a six and eight-lane divided freeway was extended from Manning Drive to Yellowhead Trail in east Edmonton.

The project also included the reconstruction and upgrading of three existing sections. The 9km highway between Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail) and Whitemud Drive (east) was reconstructed with a six-lane and an eight-lane freeway. The 6km section on Highway 16, from east of the North Saskatchewan River to east of Sherwood Drive, was converted to a six-lane and eight-lane divided highway. The 3km section from east of Anthony Henday Drive and west of 17 Street NW was rebuilt with a six-lane divided freeway.

The PPP freeway project further involved the construction of nine interchanges, one each at Manning Drive, 153 Avenue, 130 Avenue, Yellowhead Trail, Sherwood Park, Baseline Road, 17 Street NW at Sherwood Park Freeway, Broadmoor Boulevard / 17 Street NE at Highway 16, and Sherwood Drive at Highway 16.

Grade separations are provided at Canadian National Railway Company (CNR) Coronado, Victoria Trail, CNR Vegreville, Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CPR) south of Highway 16, CNR/CPR north of Highway 16, CPR east of AHD and on Highway 16 and Petroleum Way.

Furthermore, a total of 48 bridge structures, including two river bridges over the North Saskatchewan River, and eight rail and two road overpasses were built. The bridges are designed to last for 75 years.

Contractors involved in the Canadian public-private partnership highway project

The NEAH Drive project was implemented by the Government of Alberta Ministry of Transportation. The government engaged Capital City Link General Partnership (CCLGP) consortium to design, build and maintain the project. According to the contract, the consortium partially financed the development and will operate the freeway for 30 years.

CCLGP comprises Meridiam Infrastructure NEAH ULC (a subsidiary of Meridiam Infrastructure North America), ACS NEAH Partner (a subsidiary of ACS Infrastructure Canada) and Hochtief NEAH Partner (a subsidiary of Hochtief PPP Solutions).

A construction joint venture of Flatiron Constructors, Dragados, Aecon and LaFarge has been subcontracted for the design and construction of the final north-east leg of the ring road. The design team comprises AECON, Stantec, MMM Group, AMEC, EBA Engineering and Buckland & Taylor.

Volker Stevin has been awarded the maintenance contract for the road, which is valid for 30 years from completion.

NEAHD project financing

The NEAHD project achieved financial closure in May 2012. The project cost is paid off through a combination of public subsidies, long-term senior bonds and junior funds.

The project partners secured long-term senior bonds worth $540m to finance the construction, while the state government contributed $933m towards the project. The balance of the capital cost was arranged through junior funds.