Smithers’ McElhanney earns provincial achievement

Fixing up a bridge on Highway 37A earns the local engineering firm an award.

Smithers’ branch of McElhanney was recognized with a finalist award for Specialized Engineering Services.

The award, handed out by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, recognized the company’s efforts with the Highway 37A Flood Response Project.

Last September flooding washed out roads and bridges near Stewart, and McElhanney was part of a joint team including Binnie, Amec, DWB, Golder Association and Thurber Engineering that was selected to fix the road.

“We have a reputation with the ministry of transportation and they know about our design teams and our crew so they called us to help them out on a last minute basis,” said Emily Davidson, McElhanney Smithers branch manager.

The majority of the McElhanney team for this project was from Smithers.

According to Davidson, the challenges with such a project is to get the road open as quickly as possible with public safety in mind, and finding the resources to design the road.

In this project, a single lane bridge was quickly built on top of the destroyed Bitter Creek bridge.

Then, another two lane bridge was established right next to it, which is still in use until a permanent bridge is built this summer.

“They got the [first] bridge in within a week to get Highway 37 open and the other one was done in less than two months,” said Davidson.

The local McElhanney branch provides a niche market, said Davidson.

She is the company’s first geo-tech and the branch has labs which are not available at other locations, such as an asphalt lab and a physical property lab.

Davidson said this award recognizes the teamwork it takes to get a project like this done.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in Smithers or a big office in Surrey or Terrace,” she said about the ability to get jobs done.

The award was accepted by Tony Konst from McElhanney.

He was chosen to accept it on behalf of the whole team due to his over 20 years in the surveying business.

In Sept. 2011, 180 mm of rain fell near Stewart over 48 hours, washing out the highway and the bridge.

Marcus Barber, Bill Cheung and Ken Schoenfelder of the Kamloops and Prince George McElhanney office received the first place award for the Peace Flood Response Project on Highway 97 in Pine Pass, B.C.

Heavy rain damaged 150 sections of the highway last June and July.