The Alberta Flood of 2013 impacted many areas of Southern Alberta, the bridge over the Elbow River bore a major onslaught of the flood waters. The force of the flood gouged not only a new path for the river, increasing its width from 180m2 to 208m2, but also sheared off nearly 25m of earth behind the bridge. The resulting bridge debris was 15m deep and 30m wide and effectively cut off all access to the Kananaskis Region. Alberta Transportation engaged ISL to provide consulting expertise to all project phases for emergency repairs to the Bridge. With a very aggressive time line to complete repairs, ISL was faced with numerous design challenges to repair the Bridge and restore connection to the Kananaskis Region. Taking into consideration the new path of the river, ISL determined that a new span would be added, and the existing span could remain in place with temporary support while a new pier was being constructed.
Additionally, with the onset of winter approaching, a critical decision had to
be made in regards to 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. In three months, ISL was able to complete repairs and on December 20, 2013 the Elbow River Bridge was opened.
Pier, Girder and new bridge span construction was carefully orchestrated to ensure there would be limited scheduling construction conflicts.
Rather than re-directing the river back to its normal course, ISL designed the piers and abutments to accommodate the new river flow, and strategically locate the new abutment behind upstream rock outcropping that would protect the bridge and ensure it would withstand a flood of similar intensity.