North

Mistissini's wooden bridge wins more engineering accolades

The Mistissini Bridge, one of the largest wooden structures in Canada, continues to be recognized for its innovative design, recently winning two national awards at the 2016 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards.

Designed for strength and to deal with harsh weather conditions in Northern Quebec

The Mistissini Bridge in Mistissini, Que., one of the largest wooden structures in Canada, recently won two national awards at the 2016 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards. (Stantec)

The Mistissini Bridge, one of the largest wooden structures in Canada, continues to be recognized for its innovative design, recently winning two national awards at the 2016 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards.

"It's awesome that we are getting recognized for this achievement but we also look at our need for this bridge because we needed access to our building materials," said Emmett MacLeod, director of Mistissini's municipal services.

Mistissini is the second largest James Bay Cree community and growing fast, with a population approaching 4,000. It's about 800 kilometres north of Montreal. 

The 160-metre bridge, built in partnership with the Canadian engineering and construction company Stantec Inc., opened in 2014 and crosses the Uupaachikus pass, just west of Mistissini. It links it to a larger territory, a gravel pit and a forestry road.

The bridge, which has already won several provincial awards, won a National Award of Excellence in the Transportation category at the 48th annual Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC) Awards in Ottawa last week, as well as winning the Engineering a Better Canada Award, which showcases projects that enhance the "social, economic or cultural quality of life of Canadians."

"Stantec's Quebec team is very proud to receive (this)," said Isabelle Jodoin, Stantec's senior vice-president - Quebec, in a news release.

The bridge is a made of laminated wood in a series of semi-continuous arches which, according to the company, makes it stronger and better able to deal with weather conditions in Northern Quebec, where winter temperatures often dip below -25 C.

MacLeod says local wood was used to build the Mistissini bridge and was an important part of the project for the community.

"(It's important) where we as Natives can be builders using our local natural materials," said MacLeod.

"Being recognized is a bonus because we needed this bridge."