Improving slope stability using bioengineering
From 2014 to 2017, KCB worked with the City of Calgary to replace a 245 m long creosote-treated timber retaining wall along the right bank of the Elbow River. A busy pedestrian pathway, residential street and important underground utilities rely on the existing wall for protection from slope instabilities and erosion. Additionally, the vegetation and wildlife habitat was in poor condition and in need of restoration in line with the City’s Riparian Strategy.
This project is an innovative example of taking an engineering problem and creating value beyond the specific engineering goal, through the use of bioengineering. The project created fish habitat with overhanging vegetation and large boulders to create resting spots. It also incorporated bee habitat into the concrete panels. Backflood prevention measures will reduce the potential for property damage from a flood on the Elbow River.
The project presented an opportunity to design and construct three bioengineering structures, a wattle fence test section, live grating, and a vegetated H-pile retaining wall, to meet the challenges of the river environment and the project requirements. It also helped develop and expand the bioengineering knowledge and techniques available for future riparian projects in Calgary and throughout Alberta.