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Sue Higgins Bridge Abutment Protection and Bioengineering

Designing repairs and future flood protection for a damaged bridge

  • Calgary, Alberta

    Calgary, Alberta

Construction solutions with fish habitat in mind

Spanning Calgary’s Bow River, the Sue Higgins Bridge is perched above a wide floodplain. During the June 2013 flood event of intense overland flow, the bridge suffered significant erosion and damage—the intense river hydraulics at the bridge caused the complete erosion of both abutments and rendered the bridge unusable. To restore the bridge, our team designed repairs and future flood protection.

Our hydrotechnical engineers and landscape architects worked together to develop an abutment protection design solution, providing necessary engineering protection to the infrastructure while incorporating native vegetation and landscape design features. Throughout the entire project, we focused on maintaining existing site conditions including fish habitat and mature trees within the project area.

The design included joint-planted vegetated riprap and consideration for fish habitat between the abutments and the river. We placed additional willows within the keyed-in riprap area to promote revegetation of the area. Additionally, we incorporated a layer of hidden riprap within the embankment and pathway approaching the abutments that activate during a flood event. Construction of the project included working within the watercourse, achieving fish isolation, sediment release, and fish salvaging.

At a Glance

  • City of Calgary
Meet Our Team

Kathryn Glendinning, Senior Associate, Landscape Architecture Manager

Whether we’re improving wildlife habitats, enhancing biodiversity or recreational spaces, our job is about making spaces better.
Kathryn Glendinning Senior Associate, Landscape Architecture Manager Read More

Matt Wood, Principal

I help build flood resilient communities by restoring rivers and riparian areas, designing riverine infrastructure, and flood mitigations.

Lacey AuCoin, Senior Associate, Environmental Planner

I work closely with clients and regulators to integrate the environmental mitigation strategies that meet project objectives.
Lacey AuCoin Senior Associate, Environmental Planner Read More

James Bigelow, Associate, Senior Hydrotechnical Engineer

As people, we are naturally connected to water—it’s our duty to design with both the natural habitat and community resiliency in mind.
James Bigelow Associate, Senior Hydrotechnical Engineer Read More

Kathryn Glendinning

Senior Associate, Landscape Architecture Manager

Matt Wood


Lacey AuCoin

Senior Associate, Environmental Planner

James Bigelow

Associate, Senior Hydrotechnical Engineer

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