Highway 66 Elbow River Bridge Repairs

Near the Hamlet of Bragg Creek, AB

The bridge over the Elbow River bore a major onslaught of the flood waters from the June 2013 flood in southern Alberta. The force of the flood gouged not only a new path for the river, increasing its width from 180 m2 to 208 m2, but also sheared off nearly 25 m of earth behind the bridge. The resulting bridge debris was 15 m deep and 30 m wide, effectively cutting off all access to the Kananaskis Region.

Aggressive Timeline

ISL provided consulting expertise on all project phases for emergency bridge repairs and to restore connection to the Kananaskis Region. We were given an aggressive three month timeline that required an innovative design and construction schedule. Pier, girder and new bridge span construction were carefully orchestrated to ensure there would be limited scheduling construction conflicts.

A New Path

The flood waters created a new path for the Elbow River, which required numerous design decisions regarding how to repair the bridge. Rather than re-direct the river to its normal course, ISL designed the piers and abutments to accommodate the new river flow and strategically located the new abutment behind upstream rock outcropping to protect the bridge and ensure it could withstand a future flood of similar intensity.

Facing Winter

As winter approached, the team had to make a critical decision regarding the design of the bridge deck. ISL designed the bridge girders to take both a concrete deck slab and a temporary wood deck that could handle traffic loads until the weather was conducive to constructing a concrete deck.

Project Completion

In three months, ISL was able to complete repairs and on December 20, 2013 the Elbow River Bridge was opened.

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