Project Spotlight

Quebec's Mistissini Bridge Reflects Community Values and Sustainability

Mistissini Bridge

The Mistissini Bridge, completed in June 2014, is one of Canada’s most significant wooden bridges.

Mistissini Bridge

The 160-meter-long glulam bridge crosses the Uupaachikus Pass, west of Mistissini, Quebec, creating an access point for residential expansion, permitting gravel to be sourced from a quarry, and expanding economic opportunities for the Cree Nation of Mistissini. Designed by Stantec, the bridge was constructed using laminated wood in a series of semi-continuous arches and glulam girders.

The Mistissini Bridge designers faced significant challenges. The bridge not only needed to provide an environmentally sustainable option with a negative carbon footprint, but it also needed to withstand the severe weather conditions of Northern Quebec. To address these challenges, laminated wood was chosen.

The bridge features locally sourced cross-laminated timber panels and glulam girders and panels. It has a steel guardrail and a steel plate with Bimagrip covering the wood walkway. A bituminous coating, several sheets of membrane, and marine plywood protect the bridge deck from water damage.

Using glulam beams made it possible to eliminate expansion joints on the bridge, giving the structure durability. All of the bridge bearings are fixed, which distributes the seismic effects over all foundation units, and reduces cost. “The bridge reflects nature around Mistissini,” said Denis Lefebvre, a senior associate and director of expertise, bridges and works of art out of the Stantec office in Longueuil, Quebec. “Constructing a wood bridge is more symbolic to the community than other kinds of bridges, such as steel or concrete.”