North Commuter Parkway and Traffic Bridge
The Bridging to Tomorrow Project includes the construction of the North Commuter Parkway and replacement of the Traffic Bridge. Graham Commuter Partners (GCP) is the contractor in charge of construction. Both bridges and surrounding road infrastructure is slated for completion in October of 2018.
On this page, you will find monthly construction summaries, links to live cameras at each site, quarterly video updates, answers to frequently asked questions, and a history on how the Bridging to Tomorrow project came about.
Construction viewing areas are also in place at River Landing and on the Meewasin Trail, and from the Meewasin Trail located just east of the cul de sac at the north end of Kinnear Avenue (north of Silverwood Golf Course).
Watch Construction LIVE!
Quarterly Video Updates
Bridging to Tomorrow Quarterly Update 7 (October 2017)
Bridging to Tomorrow Quarterly Update 6 (June 2017)
Bridging to Tomorrow Quarterly Update 5 (March 2017)
Bridging to Tomorrow Quarterly Update 4 (December 2016)
Bridging to Tomorrow Quarterly Update 3 (October 2016)
Bridging to Tomorrow Quarterly Update 2 (July 2016)
Bridging to Tomorrow Quarterly Update 1 (April 2016)
Monthly Project Updates & Timeline of Events
NORTH COMMUTER PARKWAY
NORTH COMMUTER PARKWAY
Two clay berms (walls) have been installed View of the construction site looking northwest.
through the Northeast Swale to prevent water
from draining into the work zone.
Crews have installed sheet piling around the Crews work to refurbish Pier 3 by “coring” through the
south in-river pier and the pier has been excavated. pier to install reinforced bar.
North Commuter Parkway
The North Commuter Parkway and the Traffic Bridge Replacement Project is part of the Bridging to Tomorrow initiative. Both will provide significant benefits to the citizens of Saskatoon and the province.
Bridging to Tomorrow is about investing in our future for the benefit of everyone and is focused on:
- Making strategic investments in public infrastructure to address the existing travel demands of our rapidly growing city and province.
- Having effective and efficient infrastructure that is integral to the jobs, growth, and prosperity that defines the remarkable performance of the Saskatoon economy, which is critical to the quality of life enjoyed by our citizens.
- Providing critical commuter connections in key areas of the city, addressing traffic congestion, reducing intersection delays, shortening travel times, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Ensuring reliable and responsive service, using strong management and fiscally responsible strategies, communicating effectively, and demonstrating innovation and creativity.
- Achieving our strategic goals related to continuous improvement, asset and financial sustainability, quality of life, moving around, environmental leadership, sustainable growth and economic diversity and prosperity.
- Achieving the planning goals for the Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon initiative.
Formerly called the “North Commuter Bridge”, the North Commuter Parkway project will link the Marquis Industrial area with the University Heights area, by extending Marquis Drive across the South Saskatchewan River and connecting to McOrmond Drive at Fedoruk Drive. This drone video shows the future site of the North Commuter Parkway.
On the west side of the South Saskatchewan River:
- Marquis Drive will be extended to connect to a new 270 metre long, six-lane bridge.
- A six-lane arterial roadway will connect Wanuskewin Road to the bridge.
- Pedestrian and cyclist facilities will be constructed.
On the east side of the South Saskatchewan River:
- McOrmond Drive will be extended to connect to the new bridge.
- Central Avenue will be twinned and extended to intersect with McOrmond Drive.
- Sound attenuation requirements will be evaluated for existing residential areas along Central Avenue north of Attridge Drive.
- McOrmond Drive will be five lanes between the bridge and the intersection with Central Avenue, and then four lanes east of the intersection with Central Avenue.
- Improvements will be made to the intersection of Central Avenue and Attridge Drive.
- Pedestrian and cyclist facilities will be constructed.
The Parkway will:
- Help support the transportation needs of citizens as the City grows by providing a critical commuter connection across the South Saskatchewan River that links the Marquis Industrial Area with Saskatoon’s northeast residential developments;
- Reduce traffic on existing bridges, particularly the Circle Drive North Bridge, resulting in positive traffic impacts city-wide; and
- Help to increase economic productivity in Saskatoon by significantly reducing traffic congestion in the City's North Industrial Area.
- Traffic volume on opening day is expected to range from 14,600 to 21,700 vehicles per day. This will result in a nine per cent reduction in existing traffic using the Circle Drive North Bridge and additional reductions in traffic across the City’s other river bridges.
- With a future population of 300,000, up to 40,000 vehicles are expected to use the Parkway each day. At a future population of 400,000, over 50,000 vehicles are expected to use the Parkway each day.
- The bridge will also have a 2 meter wide bikeway on the north side and a 3.5 meter multi-use pathway on the south side. Both will be at the same elevation as the driving surface.
- As part of the North Commuter Parkway Project, the swale crossing is the location where there has been some public interest in constructing a crossing for animals. During the approval process, the swale crossing was a major point of consideration for the City and the MVA. After studying the various wildlife in the area, it was resolved to install culverts with the bottom portion covered in earth to allow small amphibians to cross the roadway using the culvert, and speed limits were set at a maximum of 50km/hr through the swale area.
- More substantial wildlife overpasses or underpasses are typically used where major wildlife crossing corridors intersect high speed highways or freeways, which is not the case in Saskatoon. Therefore, we are confident that the solution being implemented will result in a safe and reasonable environment considering all factors.
Based on an estimated design and construction starting date of fall 2015, a completion date for the project has been set for late 2018.
Naming the North Commuter Parkway:
During its July 21, 2016, meeting, City Council resolved that,
“With respect to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action report, would the administration report back on how to engage the community as a whole to name the pending new North Commuter Parkway in recognition of the TRC. This report will be in response to the TRC calls to action and specifically #79 which is … ‘Participate in a strategy to commemorate Aboriginal peoples’ history and contributions to Canada.’ The administration should keep the guidelines and intent of the naming advisory policy in mind while preparing the report.”
Under the City's Strategic Goal of Quality of Life, this naming process supports the recognition of our built, natural, and cultural heritage. The naming of civic facilities celebrates the history, environment, and outstanding contributions of our diverse community.
Details will be confirmed in coming weeks. To find out more about the naming process, read:
Report: North Commuter Parkway Bridge – Bridge Naming Engagement Process
Attachment: North Commuter Parkway Bridge Naming Process - Attachment 1
North Commuter Parkway Functional Plan Drawing
North Commuter Parkway Project Plan Speed Limits
North Commuter Parkway Functional Planning Study (2013)
North Commuter Parkway Viewing Area Map
The new Traffic Bridge will be a four span arrangement, with new reinforced concrete piers constructed around the existing piers within the river. The bridge geometry will be similar to the old bridge, but will be slightly wider and taller to accommodate wider traffic lanes, wider pathways on both sides, and overhead clearance for emergency vehicles.
In compliance with the requirements of the Project Agreement, the new bridge structure will be a modern truss structure and will include two 3.7 m wide traffic lanes and two 3.0 m multiuse pathways. The project will include direct pathway connections to Rotary Park, however the configuration of these has yet to be confirmed by GCP.
The Traffic Bridge was closed in August 2010 due to public safety concerns as a result of advanced deterioration of critical structural members. Following extensive public consultations and a Needs Assessment and Functional Planning Study conducted on the existing Traffic Bridge, a decision was made by City Council to replace the existing bridge with a modern steel truss bridge with multi-use pathways on either side.
The new Traffic Bridge will provide an important link for commuter, pedestrians and cyclists crossing the river between downtown and residential areas in the south part of the city.
The design will provide a unique look, maintaining elements of the original heritage and character of the existing bridge, while meeting modern bridge engineering standards. The existing vertical profile of the bridge will be retained and the overhead clearances will be maintained, and existing traffic movements to enter and exit the bridge on either side of the river will be maintained.
Conventional weathering steel is being used with a protective coating within the splash zone for the truss elements of the new Traffic Bridge. This will result in a two tone colour between the lower and upper portions of the structure until the patina can form on the exposed portions of the weathering steel. This process will eventually turn the entire bridge into one brown colour tone.
The new Traffic Bridge will:
- Provide an important linkage for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists crossing the river between the downtown employment area and residential areas in the south sector of the city, and will support the growing city centre.
- Play a significant role in providing access to the downtown area by offering an additional way to cross the river, particularly when other core river bridges are undergoing maintenance.
- Enhance the movement of pedestrians and cyclists with wide 3.0 metre multi-use pathways located on each side of the bridge. Cyclists may also travel in the driving lanes, which will be marked with sharrows.
- Provide 3.7 metre wide driving lanes that will enable emergency vehicles like fire trucks to use the bridge, and make the bridge a potential transit route. The wider lanes will also reduce the frequency of side-swipes and collisions.
- Accommodate average traffic volumes estimated to approach 11,000 vehicles per day, with capacity to serve over 20,000 vehicles per day.
Traffic Bridge Proposed Concept Design
Anyone interested in viewing progress of the Traffic Bridge construction can do so through a live webcam feed available on the GCP website.
A drone video of the old Traffic Bridge can be viewed here.
Traffic Bridge Functional Plan Drawing
Traffic Bridge City Functional Plan
Traffic Bridge Needs Assessment and Functional Planning Study (2011)
Traffic Bridge Needs Assessment Study Final Report to City Council (2010)
Traffic Bridge Construction Area
Traffic Bridge Decisions
Project Costs, Planning Process and Timeline
The estimated capital cost of the North Commuter Parkway is $211.4 million, and the estimated cost to replace the Traffic Bridge is $41.2 million. The total estimated capital cost to construct Parkway and replace the Traffic Bridge is $252.6 million. In May 2013, City Council approved that the North Commuter Parkway Project, which is combined with the Traffic Bridge Replacement Project to take advantage of joint financing and competitive pricing; and that Administration continue to pursue available funding for these projects from the Federal and Provincial Governments.
A funding application was submitted to PPP Canada (P3 Canada) in June 2013. The P3 Canada Fund is focused on provincial, territorial, municipal and First Nations public private partnership infrastructure projects. The amount of the funding support, in combination with any other direct federal assistance, may not exceed 25 per cent of the project's direct construction costs.
The Business Case for P3 Funding will be used to help the City and PPP Canada make decisions with respect to the construction and development of the North Commuter Parkway Project and the Traffic Bridge Replacement Project.
On June 9, 2014, P3 Canada announced the Government of Canada will contribute up to $66 million of the direct construction costs to build the North Commuter Parkway and replace the Traffic Bridge. The Province of Saskatchewan also announced a contribution of $50 million to be used to help fund the building of the Parkway. The City of Saskatoon will contribute the remaining funds to complete the project.
Planning Process and Timeline
Based on a confirmation date for funding in June 2014 and design and construction start date of fall 2015, a completion target for the project has been set for October 2018.
An estimate of the planning process and timeline for completion of the North Commuter Parkway is as follows:
- Funding Approval from PPP Canada and Government of Saskatchewan - June 2014
- Pre-qualification Period (RFQ) - July-October 2014
- Procurement Period (RFP) - January-November 2015
- Design and Construction - November 2015-October 2018
- Project Completion - October 2018
*These dates are best estimates and may fluctuate based on weather and other unforeseen circumstances
RFP Process & Requirements (Public-Private Partnership (P3) Procurement)
The RFP was developed with the City's external consultants based on the City’s functional plans and industry best practices. Based on a draft Project Agreement containing project terms and conditions that will be supplied, teams will provide technical and financial specifications regarding how they will design, construct, finance, operate and maintain the project over a 30-year operations/maintenance period.
The technical proposals will be scored based on the following criteria:
- General Technical Plans: 25%
- Design Submission: 30%
- Construction Submission: 25%
- Operations, Maintenance and Rehabilitation Submission: 20%
Technical submissions will be scored on a pass/fail basis, with 70% being the threshold to proceed to the financial plan and price submission. The financial plan will also be scored on a pass/fail basis. Only teams with a score of 70% of higher will have their price submission evaluated. The price submission will include capital construction costs, operating and maintenance costs, and renewal costs over the 30-year term of the project.
The Preferred Proponent will be the Team that passes both the technical submission and the financing plan, and has the lowest price submission, on a net present value basis.
The project’s Fairness Monitor will be involved in every step of the RFP process to ensure the City conducts the RFP process fairly and in accordance with the RFP documents and good industry practice.