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Local Firm Wins Award For Work Re-Opening Pine Pass

By Michelle Cyr-Whiting

Thursday, February 09, 2012 04:30 AM

(l-r) Deputy Minister Grant Main, Ken Schoenfelder, Marcus Barber, Bill Cheung, Minister Blair Lekstrom photo courtesy BCGov Photos

Prince George, BC - A local engineering consulting firm has been honoured for what can only be described as a mammoth undertaking, as it worked to re-open Highway 97 through the Pine Pass after a severe rain event brought down numerous mudslides and washed away large portions of the route in late June.

McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd took the top award for specialized engineering services at the 8th annual Deputy Minister's Consulting Engineers Awards at a ceremony held recently in Coquitlam.  With word of the award, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has also attached some dollar figures to the damage - approximately $52-million dollars, after a 100-year rain event stalled over the region and damaged a total of 280 sites. (click here, for previous story)

McElhanney Consulting was directly responsible for supervising the majority of sites within the Pine Pass, where Highway 97 was completely washed out in 16 locations, alone.  The company coordinated work within 60 sites and had more than 150 people working at any given time.

Minister Blair Lekstrom says the recognition for McElhanney is well-deserved.  "I have lived in the Peace Country all of my life and have never before seen this magnitude of devastation to our highways."

He says, "The Peace flood had a major impact on this region and the company played a key role in getting the clean up and repair efforts underway in a hurry."

McElhanney's Prince George Branch Manager, Bill Cheung, says the road recovery has been a collaborative effort involving not only local employees, but those from the company's offices in Kamloops, Campbell River, Terrace, Calgary, and Surrey.  He credits the two Project Superintendents, Marcus Barber and Ken Schoenfelder, with doing a tremendous job 'out in the field' supervising all the equipment involved in repairing the damage.  And says the work could not be done without the help of quite a few other companies, including GeoNorth Engineering and DWB Consulting, both of Prince George, and Northwest Hydraulics Consultants of North Vancouver.

Cheung points out the rehabilitation efforts will continue in the coming months.  "There are certain structures that were temporarily placed in preparation for the spring because the design process for a permanent structure took longer than we could do all in one season before winter hit."

"The calculations for the design flows have just been completed and now we're working on the permanent fixes," says Cheung.  "So there's going to be some design and, of course, helping the Ministry of Transportation look for funding to get some of these things put in place."

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