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Wall-builders leave provincial mark

A St. Albert company made a splash after they built the biggest mechanically stabilized earth wall in the province.
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With a large wildlife corridor running through the middle, this wall – built by St. Albert’s Com-Con Commercial Wall Builders – is the biggest of its kind in Alberta. COM-CON COMMERCIAL WALL BUILDERS/Photo

A St. Albert company has made a splash after it built the biggest mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall in the province.

Com-Con Commercial Wall Builders, which has been in St. Albert for 40 years, built the largest wall this summer in Edmonton, standing at 18.5 metres tall and 69 metres in length.

“This is this is the biggest MSE wall retaining wall in Alberta,” Jason Moellenbeck, president of the company said.

“Basically it's a structural wall that has tiebacks into the earth.”

The wall is in Edmonton at Aurum Park and was built to relieve pressure on Yellowhead Trail heading into the Aurum Energy Park. The great arching structure has a massive hole running through its middle that allows for wildlife to pass through, to keep the animals away from traffic.

The wall and road officially opened up in September.

Moellenbeck said the Clover Bar Creek runs through the hole into the North Saskatchewan River. The hole is large enough, around a 21.5-metre-wide concrete culvert, so the wildlife can pass through comfortably without having to interfere with the traffic driving above the wall.

“(The animals) can actually see daylight. Normal culverts are just little and it's dark so a lot of them don't feel like it's safe,” Moellenbeck said.

“Some animals actually wait on the other side as (predators), so this way, (the animals) can actually have more light and they can see better.”

Moellenbeck said they saw moose, deer, ducks and coyotes using their special protected trail.

Moellenbeck said the main priority for a wall like that is for the animals to move safely in their environment.

“It’s for the animals just so they have a safe passage and (they don’t) interfere with traffic,” Moellenbeck said.

With a wall that size, it can be challenging to build as it requires meticulous and constant measurements. The builders started at the bottom and worked their way up, constantly measuring to ensure that when they got to the top, both sides met together.

Moellenbeck said they had 86 days allotted for the completion of the wall but it only took 69 working days to finish the project.

The massive wall is made of precast concrete that interlocks together.

The new road that sits on top of the wall will help reduce the trip out to the Aurum Energy Park by about half an hour. There are approximately 10,000 workers who will have their daily commutes impacted as they no longer need to rely on the Yellowhead or wait at railway crossings.

The roadway runs from 9 Street NE to 17 Street NE and crosses over Clover Bar Creek.


Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Newspapers based in St. Albert, Alta.
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