Innovative Water Crossings

Innovative Water Crossings

Deep peatland conditions are common in many areas of Alberta, limiting the use of conventional road and bridge construction techniques. Road location crossing open water require innovative, environmentally responsible solutions. Through this technology, the watercourse integrity is maintained and no siltation occurs.

Geosynthetic Reinforced Soils Bottomless Culvert

The Centre demonstrates a geosynthetic reinforced soil and bottomless culvert bridge. The bottomless culvert means that the creek bed is disturbed minimally, and then through a series of structural supports and compacted soil, a bridge is built up over the culvert

Elevated Road Crossing Using Timber Piles

Long history of pile use – foundations, footings

  • Simple process
  • Find some wood
  • Drive some piles
  • Build something on top of it


  • Minimization technique
  • Hydrology is minimally impacted
  • Continuous “causeway” possible in peat up to 4-5 m deep
  • Range of techniques available depending on peat depth
  • Locally available timber piles combined with GRS exceeds CL 800 load rating
  • Reversible process
  • Restoration is possible for existing roads

Project Contributors

External Documents

Case Study 1 – Open Water Crossing – Muskeg

Case Study 2 – Low Profile Arch – Stepney

Pile Supported Roads