Banff Trail Area Improvements – Revitalization Through New Design and Enhancement

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Lafarge was the General Contractor on the Banff Trail project, which included area improvements near the intersection of 16th Avenue & Crowchild Trail NW in Calgary, Alberta. This project involved significant improvements, such as the removal of existing infrastructure and the implementation of a new design.

Lafarge was responsible for the construction part of the project valued at $200 million and saw the work to its completion in April 2023.



Concrete: 5,500 m3
Aggregates: 42,000 tonnes
Lane-km of road: 30 km
Asphalt: 37,000 tonnes
Cement: 9,800 tonnes
Sidewalk and C&G: 15,620 m



The Banff Area Improvement project was a multi-faceted project that required the Lafarge team to create a detailed plan and monitor each aspect to prevent discrepancies in performance. The scope of the project included:


  • 24th Avenue roadway concrete replacement, new bike lane paving, and roadway top lift milling and paving between Crowchild Trail NW & 14th Street NW (1,600 m of roadway)
  • Crowchild Trail and Banff Trail redesign, including concrete barrier, concrete infrastructure removal/replacement, and milling/ top lift paving between
    - Charleswood Drive NW & 5th Ave NW (2,900 m of roadway)
    - Crowchild Trail NW & 16th Avenue NW (460 m of roadway) 
  • 16th Avenue redesign, including concrete removals/replacement, new asphalt paving and milling/top lift paving between Crowchild Trail NW & 19th Street NW (830 m)
  • 300 m of new MSE Wall installation along Crowchild Trail at 16th Ave NW and 500 m of removing & replacing noise wall along 16th Avenue between Crowchild Trail NW & 19th Street NW
  • Installation of Pedestrian Bridge ramp girders on 16th Avenue just east of Banff Trail NW
  • 3,700 m of bike pathways installation along 24th Avenue & Banff Trail, 700 m2 (surface area) of MSE retaining walls, 500 m of noise wall constructed on piles, replacing 80 m of 750 mm feeder main, trees and landscaping, pedestrian bridge ramp pier construction and girder installation, two permanent signage structures, and 250 m2 of structural slope protection poured in bands (different colours)
  • Self-perform concrete and asphalt paving infrastructure work on the project
Access to Local Businesses
Quality Management
Environmental Management

The areas of operations are bustling with business activity, and part of the challenge was maintaining access to them while carrying out the construction. The need for access, especially 24-hour access to hotel chains, meant that all work would have to be carried out in two phases.

The Banff Area Improvement project used high-performance concrete (HPC) in an older area and demanded coordination with third parties and subcontractors for design and testing firms.

Banff is one of Canada's most biodiverse regions and home to some critical ecosystems. It has a significant wildlife presence, meaning the teams needed to work around habitats.

Migratory birds were resting in the location during the project timeline, causing inevitable delays to the schedule. The team had to consider these factors and create measures to ensure the wildlife remained protected at all times.


The project's challenges required Lafarge to create a multi-faceted solution approach to address everything. Following were the solutions the teams developed to tackle each challenge:

Access to Local Business

Lafarge submitted all operations plans affecting business owners to the city authorities before the work commenced. The team also addressed any comments or concerns before completing the work.

Quality Management

The Consultant pre-engineered many of the more complex work scopes, but others required full design of work and construction based on their guidelines. 

Lafarge and its subcontractors provided a complete design of the MSE wall, noise wall & pedestrian bridge ramp scopes, which included the full scope of quality control requirements.

Environment Management

Lafarge put in place and maintained environmental measures as required by the prime contract. Migratory bird nesting caused significant delays in 2020, causing our scheduling to focus on areas outside of these nesting areas.

Some small spills occurred due to hydraulic line leaks and fuel spills but were cleaned up immediately with on-site spill kits. Everyone on-site adhered to Lafarge's environmental policy for the most part, preventing any major spill events or other environmental conflicts.

Traffic Management

Lafarge has extensive experience with traffic management for high-traffic areas, and the team's experience became a valuable asset for the project. The team leveraged goodwill and interpersonal relationships to minimize the discrepancies as much as possible.

The project managers also followed the strict health and safety guidelines provided by the dedicated team within the company. They reinforced the protocols for each shift as reminders to minimize incidents as much as possible.

Risk Management

Lafarge used several risk management processes during the length of the project to identify risks and limit potential liability while dealing with both subcontractors and the project owner. These processes included measures for replacing subcontractors under extenuating circumstances.

Working with Adjacent Landowners

Lafarge worked with many project-adjacent landowners to address concerns and ensured communication of those concerns and potential solutions with the City. 

The team consulted multiple utility owners before working in areas of potential conflict. This part of the work was complicated in these areas, as some of the infrastructure was old and not located at City recorded locations.

Subcontractor Management

A major subcontractor went insolvent in the middle of the project, almost two years after bid submittal. Lafarge was forced to retain a different subcontractor to finish the work and address deficiencies in the previous subcontractor's work scope. 

The project team chose the replacement subcontractor based on relationship and work quality. They established a time and materials contract for the remainder of the outstanding work, which allowed Lafarge to complete the job with high quality at the expense of additional costs.

Additionally, Lafarge’s project team also took the following actions to optimize subcontractor management:

  • The team retained subcontractors to perform work outside their typical scope, causing delays and additional expenses.
  • Some pre-qualified subcontractors started having difficulties adhering to their contracted scope requirements. Hence, Lafarge closely monitored all submittals/RFIs to ensure they met the requirements. Several major submissions required a high number of revisions before being deemed acceptable by the Consultant.


The project was completed in April 2023 and has significantly boosted Banff’s access and experience. It also helped establish a few learning points for the team, especially for subcontractor management.

  • More scrutiny of subcontractor price submissions is warranted to avoid scope gaps and ensure that they understand their scope of work in full as required by the contract documents.
  • With multiple subcontractors working on a large site simultaneously, project coordinators should be explicitly focused on subcontractor supervision and inspection. They also need to concentrate on communication, with various coordinators focused on this, depending on the complexity of the work.

Lafarge’s performance as a general contractor was commendable, given the various unexpected challenges that emerged during the project. The team's ability to navigate the risks is a testament to its capability and exceptional skills.