The Brief

Sustainable development is essential for any community seeking to balance citizen and environmental priorities. We worked with the Town of Ajax on a multi-million dollar road construction project that positioned this growing community to serve its citizens best, while protecting its natural environs effectively.

Project Overview

Prioritize people and planet to foster sustainable growth

Reimagining rural roads into urban thoroughfares is part and parcel of community evolution. In the Town of Ajax, that meant creating a new vision for Rossland Road. One that prioritized citizen and environmental needs in equal measure. We embraced the opportunity to transform this two-lane street into a four-lane throughway, using powerful designs that balanced competing priorities.

That said: you can’t reach a destination without knowing where you’re starting from. That’s why in Ajax, we dove deep to understand the way traffic flowed through this ecologically sensitive area. Comprehensive discussions and extensive approvals from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Culture influenced our recommendations, and propelled our progress. That diverse chorus of voices and perspectives enabled us to develop innovative design solutions to overcome complex challenges.

Case in point: the project would need to cross both the Urfe and East Duffins creeks. That reality begged the need for a new, four-lane bridge structure. It also meant we’d need a stormwater management solution capable of managing quantity and quality of discharge into the Urfe—which is home to a provincially and federally endangered fish species. Challenge accepted.

By integrating the use of oil grit separators, storage facilities and infiltration trenches, we designed a solution that would protect wildlife while building a road that could meet the changing demands of a booming area. Carefully considered creek relocation, in addition to tunnelling below the creeks, was essential to our success. Aligning construction staging to key timing restrictions also helped protect fish habitats.

At the same time, construction was sequenced so that much of the work (think bridge construction and new road alignment), could be completed offline. This core element of our project plan reduced traffic impacts, requiring only short-term road closures to complete the connections. Similarly deliberate sequencing for watermain work helped limit the length and duration of watermain shut-downs along the way.

Flash forward to project completion, and it’s fair to say our award-winning Rossland Road improvements have been an important step forward in Ajax’s evolving story. The project has solved traffic challenges and addressed safety risks along this important artery between Ajax and neighbouring cities, Pickering and Whitby.

This wider, improved corridor now accommodates multi-modal transportation for pedestrians and cyclists. It speaks boldly to projected growth, while improving transportation right across town. The project is a testament to the ways solid design can juxtapose citizen and environmental needs to support future growth, while relentlessly protecting the planet itself.