EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. Highway 40 Flood Repairs Reconnecting the World to Majestic Kananaskis Country Alberta Transportation.

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2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Alberta floods of 2013 caused devastating impacts to nature, infrastructure, and the public. The landscape remains scarred today., which is responsible for the province s highway network, was one of many organizations and municipalities acutely affected by the floods. They immediately began calling in additional resources to shoulder the responsibility of restoring these areas for the public. A section of Highway 40 through Highwood Pass was one of the hardest hit, with more than 100 locations in a 55-km stretch that were significantly damaged. While not a high-traffic route, this unique portion of highway reaches the highest elevation of any road in Canada and provides immeasurable benefits to society, allowing public access to nature and unique recreational opportunities. Restoration of access through nature s playground was critical following the 2013 Alberta floods. Associated Engineering s diverse team of professionals brought their accumulated experience to provide innovative and technically focused solutions to address environmental, schedule, and communications challenges. Our Senior Engineers leveraged their network of industry contacts to find efficiencies and execute smart solutions that also helped control costs. Our professional biologists applied their understanding of the regulatory requirements and worked with regulatory agencies, our design team, and the construction team to develop designs that minimized further environmental impacts, fast-tracked approvals and minimized impacts to the schedule during project delivery. Creation of a data-management tool to capture and organize data from environmental monitoring, enhanced the project delivery; it provides a value-added tool that Alberta Transportation can use in the future. Highway 40:10 was returned to service less than 5 month after the floods, restoring the highway for travellers from around the world. Highway restoration was completed while minimizing environmental impacts and working in a remote, mountainous environment, with minimal access to communication. We are especially thankful for the wildlife we encountered (always from a safe distance) as these experiences reminded the entire team of Canada s natural wonders. Associated Engineering 1/10

3 1 Project Overview 1.1 Introduction Between June 19 and 22, 2013, natural conditions, including above-average snowpack and frozen ground, combined with a major extended rainfall event, resulted in extensive flooding and damage to numerous locations in Southern Alberta. The extremely large volume of rain was generated by a low-pressure system that had stalled over the region. The system pushed humid air from the northeast over Calgary towards the Rocky Mountains, resulting in more than 75 mm of rainfall in the City of Calgary and more than 200 mm in the Town of Canmore. While the rainfall in these centres caused significant damage, the epicentre of the storm focused on the headwaters of the Highwood River. According to data tracked by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, "in the space of a day or two, the flows rocketed up 5 to 10 times their normal rates." Located 50 km south of the Trans-Canada Highway on Highway 40 (Highway 40:10), this area received more than 325 mm of rainfall during the storm. From these headwaters, flood waters and debris travelled downstream to many communities, leaving a trail of destruction and devastation. Highway 40:10 suffered severe erosion and damage to infrastructure and the surrounding natural environment. Drainage courses were completely overwhelmed, and hydrometric stations failed after flow rates reached 30 times the average. Shortly after the rain subsided, and other affected authorities began to assess the extent of damage and repairs needed to their infrastructure. retained Associated Engineering to address the 55-km stretch of Highway 40:10 in the Kananaskis and Elbow-Sheep Wildland Park areas (the project area). This unique section of mountain road traverses Highwood Pass (elevation 2207 m/7,239 ft) and is the highest segment of paved road in Canada. This route through Highwood Pass is only open for a limited period annually (from June 15 through December 1), because of the large amount of wildlife activity in this corridor during the winter months. With 117 damaged and affected sites identified during an initial reconnaissance fly-over and ground assessment, it was clear that the repairs along the project area would require a highly coordinated effort. Associated Engineering s team of engineering, and environmental professionals began to collaborate immediately to strategize an efficient repair plan. Associated Engineering 2/10

4 1.2 Challenges Environment and timeline were two of the main challenges in completing this project. The headwaters of the Highwood River include Storm Creek, which - according to the provincial Water Act Code of Practice for Watercourse Crossings - is listed as a Class A, highly sensitive waterbody. Storm Creek Class A Bull trout spawning habitat Restricted Activity Periods The sensitivity of this creek is attributable to the occurrence of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), which is provincially listed as a threatened species because of its very specific habitat requirements. This sport fish is highly sensitive to any habitat change, and is an indicator species for general ecosystem health (COSEWIC 2013). Bull trout require cold, low turbidity water, as well as complex, connected habitat. These fish have been increasingly threatened by overfishing, stream warming, habitat degradation through siltation, and habitat fragmentation as a result of hanging culverts and other structures that limit fish access to suitable habitat. This affected the project delivery because of the limitations around completing instream work. From the beginning of the project, time was of the essence. There was a directive to open the highway as soon as possible, to allow public access prior to the annual closure scheduled for December 1. In the post-flood context, even the initial site reconnaissance, imperative to develop repair strategies and estimate quantities, proved to be a challenge; debris flows and washouts made the road impassable at several locations. Environmental regulatory triggers added layers of complexity to the efforts. Regulatory approvals needed to be in place prior to starting work at many sites, a process which can often take weeks. In addition, the presence of bull trout and other fish species prohibited any instream work between September 1 and August 15 for most of the water bodies south of Highwood Pass, leaving only a 2 week window to perform the repairs; As the work entered the construction phase, the timeline challenges continued. With elevations exceeding 2195 m (7,200 ft), the project area was more susceptible to early winter storms than lower-elevation roads. Given the compromised stability of some sites and the limited ability to gather site specific details after the flood, operation of equipment became a safety and environmental concern. Site shutdowns were a potential disruptor that could affect schedule. Clear communication between, Associated Engineering, and the construction contractor (Volker Stevin Canada) was integral to keeping the project on track. Communication was critical for coordinating site activities, monitoring and controlling costs, and maintaining regulatory compliance. Associated Engineering 3/10

5 1.3 Solutions We performed site reconnaissance using an all-terrain vehicle, giving us access through debris flows where truck travel was not an option. In three days, sufficient information was collected to proceed with the preparation of a tender document for construction. Site 129 Design Drawings Drafted on Aerial imagery to Submit with Regulatory Applications Sites requiring in-stream work in the most sensitive reaches of Storm Creek (the headwaters of the Highwood River) were promptly identified and communicated to. Applications were swiftly prepared; these included drawings drafted on aerial imagery - as opposed to the typical survey plans - to facilitate efficient design detailing for the repair strategies (shown left). In order to streamline the regulatory approvals process for Water Act and Public Lands Act approvals, we used the post 2013 flood Expedited Authorization Process for Flood Recovery established by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD). Our team also obtained a blanket fish research licence permit from ESRD which authorized us to complete fish habitat assessments and fish salvages at any time, as required, throughout the entire project area. Taking into account construction schedule, we prioritized regulatory approvals based on the expected turnaround time by regulators (ESRD), Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and Transport Canada (Navigable Waters Protection Act). To address the large workload, the construction contractor (Volker Stevin Canada) sub-contracted several work packages, overseeing multiple sites on a daily basis. Associated Engineering provided a construction supervisor and an environmental monitor (supported by provincially regulated Qualified Aquatic Environmental Specialists) who were on site daily during construction to assist the repair strategy process. Because most sites required a field-fit solution, decisions had to be made quickly and responsibly, taking into account engineering, environment, and constructability. With as many as 20 active sites daily and no cell phone or internet coverage, communication had to be carefully planned. Daily meetings were held on site for field staff, and weekly on-site meetings were also held with field and office team members, including. Satellite phones and radios were used on site; however, intermittent coverage meant that contact was often made by driving the extent of the project area. The project team identified sites that would require higher risk, in-stream work. The team avoided sensitive timeframes and obtained regulatory approvals using Alberta s Expedited Authorization Process for Flood Recovery. Associated Engineering 4/10

6 2 Innovation and Technical Excellence Associated Engineering provided a large multi-discipline team to fast-track the repair work from site reconnaissance through project closure. Site reconnaissance was compressed into three days, and the field team collected more detail than during a typical preliminary survey. Completing this work required senior staff capable of making important repairstrategy, design decisions, and who would have a continuous role in project delivery. The reconnaissance allowed to promptly evaluate the situation regarding the following: Extent of damage; Repair strategies; Quantities of material involved in repair; and, Environmental constraints. Managing the data throughout the project was complex. During the site reconnaissance, Associated Engineering used GPS-enabled cameras, voice recorders, and utilized a database of pre-identified and geo-referenced locations that allowed for confirmation of site identification on the ground. This information was then combined through GoogleEarth for quick reference throughout the duration of the project. Associated Engineering developed a database tool to consistently and efficiently manage the large number of sites that would require environmental monitoring during construction. The challenge for our programmers was to develop the tool to accommodate several key requirements: Ability for multiple monitors to collect data simultaneously and on a rotating schedule (i.e. multiple versions of the tool in use during overlapping timeframes); Ability to archive multiple photographs captured at each site monitoring event; Ability to report to ESRD on fish rescue and fish habitat events via the Fisheries Management Information System; and Ability to store reliable and robust data through effective quality assurance and quality control. In addition, the programmers had to design the tool on a short timeline. The tool was built to mitigate the multiple identified risks associated with field level data collection, typical of environmental monitoring. Our programmers developed this tool in less than 10 days. The tool can be easily modified for other environmental, engineering and construction scenarios. The client may consider future use of this tool as part of the added value provided on this project. Associated Engineering 5/10

7 3 Added Value Opportunities to improve project delivery while adding value on this project were demonstrated through the application of our experience and connections leading to reduced material sourcing, and expediting public access to one of nature s natural gems. Cost-Effective Materials Handling: Materials management was a significant cost item on this project. The team spent time to analyze and understand the materials handling requirements. As a result, volumes of materials transferred in and out of the sites were minimized, as well as hauling distances. The team used a mass haul diagram based on initial quantity estimates that indicated the approximate surplus and deficit volumes across the length of the 117 sites. Associated Engineering s corporate sponsor was a Senior Engineer with 40 years of experience on transportation Diagram created to determine the location and volume of surplus material along the project length projects in Alberta. In situations where additional construction materials were needed, his experience and contacts helped resource materials. He contacted and obtained advice from the project manager responsible for the construction of Highway 40:10 in the 1980s. Together, they were able to access historical construction drawings and identify spoil piles in the rightof-way that could provide additional borrow material, thus eliminating the need for identifying and hauling borrow materials, and resulting in significant cost savings to the project. Expedited Public Access: The early opening of this section of highway provided added value to travellers and the general public. On September 4, 2013, opened 20 km of the Highway 40 to the public, ahead of schedule. This included the Highwood Pass, a draw for many Canadian and international tourists and recreationalists. A Transparent Process: While schedule was important, emphasis was also placed on obtaining the best value for the project. The construction work was awarded through a public Tender, as opposed to being directly awarded to s maintenance contractor on an emergency basis, which is how more critical repairs - such as on the Trans-Canada Highway - were handled. While the public Tender process did add significant time to the overall schedule, it ensured that the work was performed at market value. Impact to the schedule was mitigated by ensuring that key staff members were available at the initial site investigation to make immediate design decisions. Construction supervision staff was encouraged to work with the Contractor to adjust repair strategies, as needed, to meet project deadlines. Associated Engineering 6/10

8 4 Degree of Difficulty Handling a small subset of these projects at any one time might not be difficult; however, managing all 117 sites under the umbrella of one project, advancing enough sites to completion such that the highway could be opened to the public in less than 5 months, and addressing more than 60 sites with environmental regulatory triggers were significant accomplishments. As an illustration of this, one of the 117 sites (Site 92) was identified as high risk during the reconnaissance phase due to the road washouts at this location and the continued flow of water into the failed road section. Based on assessments, it was determined that this site had been significantly altered from its pre-flood conditions. The site is located at the confluence of Storm Creek and an unnamed tributary, and includes two bridge file-sized culverts (approximately 4 m in diameter). Both culverts were blocked during the flood and the diverted water created a new channel. This channel extended along the highway ditch for more than 2.5 km. The repairs at this site were assigned an emergency status (from a regulatory perspective under the Water Act) because of concern for public safety if the road continued to fail as a result of the compromised stability. Several on-site discussions about the benefits and risks of repair options were evaluated prior to proceeding. Repairs at Site 92 were designed and detailed through a six-stage process that addressed the two blocked culverts, the diverted channel, and more than 20,000 m 3 of material that had been deposited throughout the site. With respect to environmental concerns, the repair activities required continued water quality monitoring, confirmation of fish absence throughout the newly established channel, and design of temporary diversions and isolation measures to re-connect the channel while minimizing sediment transport in-stream. Drawing plans and sketches One of six drawings developed for repairs at Site 92. Each drawing provides details about construction and environmental tasks. were implemented through a collaborative field-fit that was based on site discussions between the construction supervisor and our engineer, environmental monitor, and construction contractor. The culverts were successfully cleared and returned to their original function, the channel was re-established in its historical location, and all works were completed with negligible impacts to fish and fish habitat. 5 Management of Risk During the pre-construction meeting for the entire project area, an identified risk was that preliminary surveys had not been completed prior to initiation of work (due to time constraints). It was decided that LIDAR data obtained after the 2013 flood would be used to calculate quantities for payment items. To verify the accuracy of the data, ground-truth surveying was completed at several sites. To manage the construction staging, it was agreed to generally work on sites from north to south, as this would allow for easier supervision from construction and environmental perspectives. This minimized Associated Engineering 7/10

9 the areas to be covered by the construction supervisor and environmental monitor on a daily basis, reducing work inefficiencies, environmental compromises, and cost. 6 Benefit to Society The project area is a huge attraction for recreational enthusiasts and tourists from Canada and around the globe. Located in the Rocky Mountains, this highway provides access to many accommodations and economic drivers in the area. Some of these include the Delta Lodge, Kananaskis Country Golf Course, and numerous campgrounds and day use areas. Additionally, Highway 40:10 provides a needed access for local ranchers, resource development, and natural area management and protection including forest fire and search and rescue. The reopening of the road, less than 5 months after the disastrous flood events, allowed the region to quickly recover. In addition, repairs to the road were engineered to provide additional public safety and further protect the infrastructure and the environmental assets in the area, all of which are benefits to society. Several elements of this project demonstrate this commitment: Installation and use of cable barrier guardrail (to protect vehicles from new rip rapped areas, areas with steeper than previously impacted slopes, or where the water body was now closer to the highway); Installation of side hill sub-drains (to prevent future slope failures); Installation of rip rap (where bank protection was not present or had been weakened as a result of the storm). 7 Environmental Value As stated previously, approximately 60 out of the 117 sites triggered specific environmental obligations. The environmental team liaised directly with s regional environmental coordinator, as well as regulators (ESRD, DFO, Transport Canada) to expedite regulatory approvals and permitting throughout the project. Early in the repairs, Associated Engineering organized a site visit with the local ESRD fisheries biologist and s environmental coordinator to discuss the complexities of the project and practical repair options. During ESRD s follow-up visits, they communicated that site activities had been well managed from the environmental perspective. Considering the range of environmental approvals and authorizations that were required, a reference binder was provided to the contractor and lead subcontractors. The documents in this binder Associated Engineering 8/10

10 identified the environmental obligations specific to each site. Once construction at each site commenced, an environmental monitor was present during all activities. Environmental monitors worked with construction contractors to minimize in-stream impacts during repairs. This included water quality monitoring for sediment impacts, recommendations regarding erosion and sediment control measures (including turbidity curtains and sediment fencing), advice on water management and diversion, fish rescue and relocation, and discussion about staging, maintenance, and use of equipment on site. Co-operation and collaboration between the environmental monitors and the construction contractor and sub-contractors allowed for practical and environmentally responsible solutions throughout the project. 8 Advancement of Technology Typically, horizontal directional drilling is used to cross rivers and lakes to minimize disruption to fish and fish habitat and riparian areas. A unique application of this technology was applied on this project: a directional drill rig was used to clear debris from plugged culverts. This was especially effective for smaller-diameter culverts, as the options for cleaning out deposited materials from these culverts tend to be limited. Often, flood damage renders these culverts ineffective for drainage and watercourse conveyance. Culvert clean-out also required the use of small excavation equipment, and several mine tunnelling techniques. In addition to the drilling technology, the use of geo-referenced site locations and photographs throughout this complex project allowed for quick and accurate reference when conversing about site specific repair strategies and environmental requirements by all members of the team. 9 Conclusion Through careful planning and communications with regulators and coordination with the contractor, road access through Highway 40:10 was restored in November 2013, less than five months after the flood. Ongoing construction activities continued and repairs to 55 km of Highway 40 was completed in August Facing tremendous environmental and schedule pressures, the Associated Engineering team developed a cost-effective, environmentally sensitive rehabilitation strategy for Highway 40, through thoughtful design and construction management using their experience, network of contacts, and technology tools. 10 Acknowledgments Completing the majority of the repairs in five months required the experience, knowledge, and environmental stewardship of all team members. We would like to acknowledge the following people: Associated Engineering 9/10

11 : Nino de Laurentiis, Leslie Wensmann and Ross Dickson Associated Engineering: Dwight Carter, Des Kernahan, Darryl Schalk, Erin Rooney, Fiona Mulvenna, Matt Freeman Volker Stevin Canada: Lorenz Bohnert, Rex Davidson ESRD: Kevin Brayford, Shannon Cholach, Frankie Kerr, Jenny Earle, Mike Sanderman Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Stephanie Martens The commitment of these individuals was critical to meeting project timelines. Associated Engineering 10/10

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