Dress appropriately, bring a first-aid kit and never hike alone are just a few safety precautions hikers from around the world brush up on before visiting Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. As they explore Mount Edith Cavell, one safety detail was taken care of for them thanks to the parks service and precast concrete.
Cavell Bridge is a single-span bridge that leads visitors into the park’s day-use area, a popular destination for sightseeing and hiking. According to Parks Canada, the 63-year-old, cast-in-place bridge had reached the end of its life and needed to be replaced to ensure visitors can continue to safely access the area in the future.
Precast manufacturer Eagle Builders in Blackfalds, Alberta, successfully bid the government-funded project and produced five precast interior girders and two barrier girder replacements.
“This was a specially designed girder with a large barrier that is not very common,” said Jason McNutt, project manager.
Each girder spanned approximately 33 feet. The interior girders weighed 24,000 pounds and the barrier girders weighed 42,000 pounds. The main body of the girders was fabricated inside a self-stressing steel girder form while the barrier was poured separately in a wood form. The company used high performance concrete and the compressive strength exceeded 8,700 psi after 28 days. The bridge girders were manufactured a month prior to the general contractor’s requested delivery and installation date. Girders were fabricated using Canadian Standards Association and Alberta Transportation bridge specifications.
“With short-span bridge construction, precast concrete will in almost all cases be the most cost-effective solution compared to cast-in-place,” he said
McNutt said installation went smoothly despite having limited space for trucks to maneuver. Shortened trailers were required to transport the precast concrete products on site. Bridge construction started in mid-May and was completed in one month to allow the seasonal road to reopen for summer tourism to begin.