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Lafarge Canada ‘anchors’ Glacier Skywalk project

Last month, PCL Construction Management called on Lafarge Canada to provide concrete at a unique site located on the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park, Alberta—the new Glacier Skywalk, an interpretive boardwalk and glass-floored observation platform with 180-degrees of unobstructed views of the Sunwapta Canyon.

PCL provided performance-based specifications for the ready-mix concrete needed for the project’s foundation. However, logistics were particularly challenging given that Lafarge’s nearest ready mix plant was nearly four hours away in Canmore; a 2,349-ft. elevation gain was required to reach the pour location; and, traditional feedback and mix tweaking for subsequent batches was not possible because the trucks were all on the road at once.

To meet PCL’s specifications and have the concrete survive the long drive, Lafarge Quality Control Manager Tyler Callaghan created a mix that was literally put to sleep during the drive and awaken for the pour of the first anchor. An Ultra Series Delay Set product was used with additional cooling to meet temperature sensitive specifications. Over the span of four days, 470 cu. m. of ready mix was delivered by 15 trucks. Lafarge will pour the second anchor for the project in the spring.

Glacier Skywalk includes a receiving area and an interpretive walkway (Discovery Trail) that has stations highlighting the ecology, geology, glaciology and evolutionary history of the area. Discovery Trail will lead visitors along the edge of the rugged Sunwapta Canyon and link to the glass-floored observation Discovery Vista extending 30 meters out over the valley. Glacier Skywalk is set to open in May 2014.