Building the Jack Tennant Bridge with the Town of Cochrane Earns a CEA Award of Merit

The Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA) presented 12 awards of excellence and 14 awards of merit at its 24th annual showcase gala at the Edmonton Convention Centre. More than 50 projects were submitted for this year’s awards, representing a cross-section of the province’s consulting engineering firms.

Our team receiving the CEA Award. From left to right, Geoff Kallweit – RJC Engineers, Gord Stewart – Urban Systems, Jennifer Whyte – Urban Systems, Kyle Colburn – Urban Systems, and Mark Bowen – RJC Engineers
We received an Award of Merit for our project management work on the Town of Cochrane’s Jack Tennant Memorial Bridge. Our team developed a procurement model to design and construct the bridge. The $54 million bridge project is on time and on budget.

The project is the result of the Town of Cochrane’s diligent work to enhance the transportation needs of their rapidly growing population. In an online vote open to residents, the name of late Cochrane journalist Jack Tennant was selected as the name of the bridge. The bridge will feature a separate walking path and a pedestrian viewing area over the river. The James Walker Trail and the Jack Tennant Bridge are the largest combined capital project in Town history.

Our team worked with the Town to create a thorough risk assessment process using a series of collaborative workshops. Two of the main identified outcomes of the risk assessment process included:

  • Early Contractor Engagement: involving the contractor early in the design process to produce a product that would reduce construction costs and increase the quality and value of the bridge.
  • Cost Certainty: establishing a reasonable level of cost certainty on the project, without handing over the decision making typically found in a Design Build procurement model.

The risk assessment process resulted in developing a specific procurement model that focused on pre-construction collaboration and eliminated uncertainties that often result in contractual disputes. The innovative approach received a tremendous amount of attention from the community, media and elected officials.

Urban-Systems-CEA-Award-bridge1“The Jack Tennant Memorial bridge was a very important missing link in the Town of Cochrane’s transportation network providing a much-needed link for residents on the south side of the Bow River into downtown. The bridge not only provides connectivity for vehicles, but a safe, comfortable realm for pedestrians and cyclists alike,” says Ray Predika, Manager of Infrastructure & Operational Services at the Town of Cochrane.

Together, we challenged the traditional approach to construction contract procurement. As a result of the project success, two additional construction projects have been procured by the Town of Cochrane and managed by Urban Systems using the procurement model.

“It was evident that the community would be keeping a close eye on this important project. This project is proof that working collaboratively yields better results.” Kyle Colburn, Project Manager at Urban Systems.

New and innovative processes always involve risk, but fully understanding and quantifying the risks can result in huge success. We believe building trust is key to managing these risks.

“These awards recognize the best of the best in design and innovation,” says CEA president Sean Snowden. “The winners this year are exceptional examples of what can be done by Alberta’s consulting engineering community.”

The bridge and trail are anticipated to open in the autumn of 2020. Watch this quick video containing drone footage from the construction phase of the project.

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