McElhanney gives youth a chance on Halfway River Bridge project


Work on the largest structure in British Columbia is making significant progress.

Canadian multidisciplinary construction consultancy firm McElhanney is giving its younger staff the opportunity to be mentored while working on a large-scale, high-profile project in British Columbia.

The firm is providing construction contract management, quality assurance and construction inspection of the largest structure in British Columbia north of Vancouver – the Halfway River Bridge, about 45km north of Fort St. John in the north east of the province.

The project is well ahead of schedule, with about 150 workers on site at a time (and all following pandemic safety procedures), compared to 20 for a typical bridge. At the project’s end, crews will have poured 12,000m³ of concrete to construct the piers that rise out of the Halfway River – up to 50m in the air!

The project, which is the largest traditionally tendered bridge project in British Columbia’s history, has seen McElhanney give its younger staff an opportunity to work on a large-scale project while being mentored by senior colleagues in construction supervision. McElhanney project manager, Marcus Barber, applauded the efforts of the project team: “They are doing fantastic work, especially with the extra challenges of Covid-19. There have been a lot of personal sacrifices. It’s a huge team effort,” he said.

The construction speed has been significant thanks to the efforts of the project team. Since breaking ground in January 2020, it has already reached a milestone with the placement of girders on their support structures. To achieve and sustain this incredible pace, McElhanney developed a new electronic quality assurance plan to maximise communication and efficiency. As part of this plan, field staff input project data and information into iPads, allowing offsite project team members to receive real-time updates.

Work on the bridge, which is owned by the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and funded by BC Hydro, is due for completion by the end of 2021.