The Province of British Columbia and SYD Road Limited Partnership signed a 16 year, $40 million partnership agreement in June 2004 to design and upgrade the SYD road, then to operate and maintain the road for a further 14 years.
The SYD Road is a public resource road that is used, primarily, to access the oil and gas resources in the northeastern region of British Columbia. The former road currently began at Highway 97, south of Fort Nelson, and crossed the Fort Nelson River via an existing one lane bridge that doubled as a railroad bridge for BC Rail and as a highway bridge. The road continued on in an easterly and northerly direction, servicing numerous gas fields for approximately 188 kilometers in length.
The road was built over a period of some 25 to 30 years, in sections, by different builders, as the gas fields were developed. The first section of the road, including the one lane rail/road bridge was a bottleneck that hampered the efficient flow of personnel, equipment and materials to the drilling sites.
A new road, the SYD Clarke Lake Bypass Road (the Bypass), was constructed from Highway 97 (The Alaska Highway) to approximately km 30.5 on the existing SYD Road to eliminate this bottleneck. This section of road including a new Fort Nelson River Bridge was completed in October, 2004 and is now open to the public for use.
From km 30.5 onward, the existing SYD Road was upgraded in terms of alignment, bridges, functionality, width and strength. This upgrade was completed in August, 2005.
- Construction of a 21 km bypass, including a new bridge over the Fort Nelson River connecting Highway 97 to the SYD Road.
- Selective widening and strengthening of the existing gravel road, realignment and widening of hazardous corners, and improved sightlines.
- Bridge replacements and upgrades.
- Construction of the new bypass and bridge began in January 2004 and was completed in October 2004.
- All upgrades were completed August 25, 2005.