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Wednesday, Nov 02, 2022

Haisla Bridge delivers a cost-effective and constructible transportation structure in northwest BC

A bridge under construction above a river

The Haisla Bridge provides a critical link between Kitimat, BC and its industrial lands, including LNG Canada and Rio Tinto. Originally built in 1954, the bridge is operating near the end of its design life. The District of Kitimat wished to replace the bridge to provide a safe and reliable structure over the highly sensitive Kitimat River. The District awarded the design-build contract to the Ledcor-Haisla Limited Partnership. Brybil Projects, a member of the Associated Engineering group of companies, is the lead design consultant for the partnership.

The project involves the design and construction of a 230 metre long bridge consisting of four spans - two spans over the Kitimat River and two, short, end spans over new multi-use pathways. In addition, construction will include 1,000 metres of realigned road approaches, drainage, erosion and scour protection, water and sanitary forcemain connections, roadway lighting, and private utilities. Specialist sub-consultants provided geotechnical and hydrotechnical services.

Nik Cuperlovic, Bridge Lead, tells us, “The bridge superstructure comprises steel girders with clean lines and a gentle profile. The visible portion of the bridge substructure includes round concrete piers and pier caps. In addition to strength requirements, we considered the visual appeal of the proposed piers – piers that inspire confidence, but are not overly massive. The new pier footprint is smaller than the existing one and the east and west piers are located outside the river channel, thus minimizing impact on the sensitive river ecosystem.” 

A concrete bridge pier

Compared to the reference concept design, the roadway profile was lowered significantly at the abutments, resulting in a reduced project footprint that helps to mitigate potential settlement issues at the abutments and approach slabs. This also eliminated the need for a retaining wall at a property constraint on the north-east side of the bridge. 

Multi-disciplinary coordination through weekly discipline-lead meetings proved immensely valuable in identifying and mitigating conflicts during the abbreviated and fast-paced design phase. 

The key members of our team included Nancy En, Sam King, Nik Cuperlovic, Winnie Li, Mike Lumb, Shaun Bidulka, Josh Thiessen, Matt Lozie, Louis De Lange, and Della Anggabrata.