Canadian Consulting Engineer

CEA awards go to airport, oil sands infrastructure, community development

February 18, 2015

Eleven projects and the consulting engineering firms that realized them were celebrated by Consulting Engineers of Alberta at its annual awards.

Edmonton International Airport Offices and Control Tower, winner of a Consulting Engineers of Alberta 2015 Award of Excellence for DIALOG.

Edmonton International Airport Offices and Control Tower, winner of a Consulting Engineers of Alberta 2015 Award of Excellence for DIALOG.

In Alberta, 11 projects and the consulting engineering firms who realized them received awards of excellence at the Consulting Engineers of Alberta annual gala on February 5.

The CEA awards are given in a variety of categories, ranging from traditional categories like buildings and transportation infrastructure, to the more unusual “small firm – big impact” and outreach categories.
This year 21 judges from outside the consulting engineering profession evaluated submissions. They considered design, innovation, project complexity, project location, project challenges and other factors.

Announcing the winners at the Edmonton Expo Centre at Northlands, CEA President Matt Brassard, P.Eng., said: “The winners this year are exceptional examples of what can be done by Alberta’s consulting engineering community. The citizens of Alberta are the real beneficiaries of these examples of engineering excellence.”

– In the building engineering category, DIALOG won an award of excellence for the Edmonton International Airport Offices and Control Tower. The project was an integral part of the airport’s expansion 2012 program. The combined tower houses a new cutting edge NAV Canada air traffic control tower, an expanded retail precinct and administrative offices. The project is targeting LEED Silver designation. MMM Group was cited as one of the project’s key players.


– In community development, Read Jones Christoffersen won for the Elbow River Traverse, a new pedestrian river crossing in Calgary. The engineers produced the new river crossing alongside Simpson Roberts Architects, SMP electrical engineers, Graham Construction and Stantec. The bridge spans the Elbow River near its confluence with the Bow River, providing continuity to a refurbished section of pathway and a vantage point on a site of historical importance. A graceful design, it has slender weathering steel arches with structural efficiency while the lighting for the bridge, guardrails, and furniture were designed to minimize their presence.

– “Stantec in the Community Day.” won an award of excellence in the community outreach and in-house initiative category. On September 15, 2014, an estimated 5,500 of the Stantec’s employees world-wide participated in the event, of which 950 were staff located in Alberta. Together, the company volunteered the equivalent of 2,600 hours (or 104 days) in support of 33 different charities and organizations. Stantec’s description says, “the rewards were worth the sweat. We made a difference for thousands of people across Alberta, proving Stantec’s commitment to community.”

– In the environmental category Golder Associates won for the Construction of No Net Loss Lake for Long Term Sustainability. Golder was hired by Suncor Energy to work on the lake at the Fort Hills Oil Sands Project in northern Alberta. Golder did field studies and research to develop a conceptual plan and then worked on-site to supervise construction. The results of the project included improved and expanded fish habitat and a natural-looking, long-term-sustainable lake that will cope with extreme weather events and connects well with the Athabasca River.

– Opus Stewart Weir won an award of excellence in the natural resources, mining and industry category for the Edith Lake to Sarah Lake Transmission Line Construction. The project took place approximately 10 kilometres west of Swan Hills, Alberta over terrain that varied from flat saturated muskeg to undulating hills and steep embankments. It required clearing timber, installing pipeline and watercourse crossings, road construction, over 800 rig mats and site reclamation. Opus Stewart Weir personnel coordinated field operations with a local First Nations contractor.

– In the project management category, CH2M HILL Canada won for Calgary’s Airport Trail Tunnel in the city’s rapidly-growing northeast. The 620-metre long cast-in-place concrete structure carries six lanes of traffic under the Calgary International Airport’s new runway, extends Airport Trail, and could provide future light rail transit to the airport terminal. The project was built to a fast-track schedule to accommodate the runway opening in June 2014. Associated Engineering, Thurber and ADP Engineering were subconsultants.

– SMA Consulting won an award in the small firm — big impact category for the WESS Stage W13 project. WESS W13 is a new sanitary tunnel in West Edmonton that was designed and built to eliminate a critical bottleneck which had contributed to flooding in 2004. Challenges such as equipment-clogging clay, soil voids, car-size boulders, and an unrecorded concrete wall could have made the project a costly headache. However, SMA and the city implemented cutting-edge project controls methods and innovative solutions such as new soil conditioning polymers and the use of HAZMAT scuba divers. The completed tunnel is reducing the risk of flooding for tens of thousands of residents.

– SMA Consulting won a second award of excellence in the studies, software and special services category for the Clover Bar Wastewater Lagoon Risk and Operation Study. If emptied, the Edmonton Waste Management Facility lagoons could cover 300 football fields in a metre of biosolids. To find answers for EPCOR, SMA integrated advanced process simulation with full failure and risk analysis using over 75,000 lines of code to process 68 million pieces of data and projected results to 2024. The results showed that an aggressive approach and some upgrades would keep levels safe. Stantec Consulting was the prime consultant.

– In the Sustainable Design category, MPE Engineering won for the Turner Valley and Black Diamond Water Supply System. In 2008, the communities of Black Diamond, Turner Valley, Longview and MD of Foothills formed a partnership to integrate their infrastructure for delivering potable water into a regional system. The partners engaged MPE Engineering and Urban Systems to design and implement a 25-year plan. However, after the unprecedented “2013 Flood” when major components of the existing water system were destroyed, the provision of essential services became the priority. An emergency fire hose transporting water to Black Diamond from Turner Valley was the first of many emergency measures implemented by the partnership.

Highway 63:11 south of the Athabasca River to North of Confederation Way in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The project won an award of excellence in the Consulting Engineers of Alberta 2015 Awards for Stantec Consulting.

Highway 63:11 south of the Athabasca River to North of Confederation Way in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The project won an award of excellence in the Consulting Engineers of Alberta 2015 Awards for Stantec Consulting.

– Stantec Consulting won an award of excellence in the transportation infrastructure category for Highway 63:11 South of the Athabasca River to North of Confederation Way in Fort McMurray. As the only route through Fort McMurray, Highway 63 faced growing congestion, Alberta Transportation engaged the Stantec led team to design a $400 million upgrade to the highway’s chokepoint from the Athabasca River to the north and to manage its construction. Changes included expanding the road from six to 10 traffic lanes, improving two bridges, and adding Alberta’s largest bridge. Despite cramped geography, utility corridors, and a challenging climate, Stantec delivered the project ahead of schedule — and kept traffic moving throughout construction. AECOM, CH2M HILL and Thurber Engineering were subconsultants.

– Finally, Associated Engineering Alberta won an award of excellence in the water resources and energy production category for the Fort McMurray Water Treatment Plant Upgrade. Executing a major $160-million taxpayer-funded construction project in the heart of the oil sands industry within a tapped labour resource environment was no easy feat. The new facilities had to be constructed on a small footprint adjacent to the existing treatment plant, and the new improvements had to be integrated without causing a major disruption of the water supply. The work required maximizing the existing assets’ performance, an adaptive design and a carefully staged implementation strategy. Thurber Engineering and Schaefer D.E. Architect were subconsultants.

Eleven awards of merit were also handed out to: SMA Consulting (2), McElhanney Consulting Services, MPE Engineering (3), Stantec Consulting, Golder Associates Associated Engineering (2) and OPUS Stewart Weir.

Photographs and details about the award winners and their projects can be found at


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