Nancee Way underpass would have been fully operational since the end of June, if the original completion date projection was correct.
But last year’s retaining wall failure on Westside Road overpass and other delays have postponed the opening date until late November or early December.
“We’re on schedule to have the entire project completed by the end of this fall,” said Evelyn Lube, project communications for the Westside Road Interchange Project.
Last November the first phase of the project was completed with the opening of Westside Road overpass; however, the facing panels of the west abutment retaining wall collapsed Nov. 20, causing a major delay to the second phase of the project.
“We had to go and investigate the failure of the original wall and make sure that we knew what had caused it, then make sure that it’s not going to happen again.”
Testing of the materials determined that embrittlement at the bends in certain steel reinforcement bars connecting the concrete facing panels was a contributing factor in the collapse.
Now that the cause is known, Lube said crews are confident that Nancee Way underpass won’t have the same problem as Westside Road overpass.
“We’re confident that the problem with the walls has been addressed. The supplier has now made revisions to the materials and detailing for the connections.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and energy to make sure that this isn’t going to be an issue on the remainder of the project.”
Lube said that weather could potentially play a factor in the completion date.
“Probably the most critical part about the schedule will be the paving, which has to be done when the weather is mild enough.
“In the worst-case scenario, it may mean that paving of Nancee Way couldn’t be done (until) the spring. But we’re hopeful that’s not going to happen.”
Westbank First Nation is responsible for managing the Westside Road Interchange Project and delivering it to completion.
The $41 million project was first announced in 2009 and construction on the first phase began in the fall of 2010.
The project has been funded by the province with contributions from the federal government.
The highway will be realigned once the underpass is completed later this year—until then, a 60 km/h speed zone will remain in effect around the project site.