The John Hextall Bridge has been a part of Calgary’s landscape for over 110 years, and to ensure the staple remains for years to come, PCL was contracted to rehabilitate the landmark. The work included removing the asphalt bridge deck and replacing it with a concrete one with aesthetic and historical features. The upgrades also focused on structural steel repairs, new coatings, replacing dated handrails with ones up to current-day standards, and other miscellaneous repairs and site improvements. To pay homage to its past, the bridge’s history is featured on the deck, an interpretive plaque was installed and “B-Bowness” has been painted between the rails to honor the old tram lines.
The rehabilitation of the bridge proved to be no easy feat, but PCL was able to deliver the project by the contract’s substantial date and work through the challenges.
One of the potential setbacks the project faced was the schedule because of the multiple unforeseen conditions due to the age of the structure. When the deck was demolished, the existing steel was in terrible condition; the project was budgeted to replace 12 stringer beams. In the end, approximately 90 stringer beams were replaced. With more steel to buy, the schedule was extended by three months to complete the work, which the team met. PCL adopted a transparent communication strategy and collaborated with the client and engineer to make the solutions cost-effective and possible to complete without any further delays.
The team was also helpful in proposing to the client to change the cast-in-place plaque within the bridge deck. PCL discovered that the original plaque, made from aluminum with steel fasteners, would deform and corrode over time, resulting in maintenance issues. The team proposed an alternative to change it to red brass without any holes and use stainless steel fasteners to avoid future issues for the client.