Award winning project

Woodworth Dam

  • Project
1 BBA Wood Worth Dam ACEC BC

Austin Engineering, now known as BBA, was tasked with replacing the Woodworth Dam in Prince Rupert. The dam as well as the water supply lines were aging (over 100 years old) and needed to be replaced. The city called upon BBA to optimize the dam redesign and make it the main source of freshwater for the city, while keeping costs as low as possible.

Awards and Recognition
  1. Our experts' solutions

    When revising the initial design, our engineers compared several models using an innovative process: the dams were 3D printed, the riverbeds were CNC routed, and they were all tested in hydraulic flumes to confirm their flow characteristics. Realistic model structures were used to communicate the new design to stakeholders in a visual way. This approach allowed our team to optimize the initial Woodworth Dam design while significantly decreasing the project budget (by nearly 17%).

  2. The new structure, a 15-metre-high concrete gravity dam, was built downstream from the existing dam, in a rocky canyon, and should ensure a stable water supply for the next 50 to 100 years.

    Since Prince Rupert is known for its significantly heavy rainfalls, BBA also took care to predict and allow for future changes in flow regimes within the river system as a result of climate change. The spillway capacity was oversized to allow for future flood flows and demands.

    Best environmental and dam safety practices were implemented throughout the project to ensure its sustainability.

  3. Since the Woodworth Dam is located on First Nations land, the communities were involved throughout the project to ensure that special attention and care was taken to respect the location and their culture.

    The completion and commissioning of the Woodworth Dam were celebrated on October 14, 2022. It now allows water to be taken directly from the Woodworth Reservoir and piped by a high-density polyethylene pipeline down and across the harbour, entering the City of Prince Rupert’s water system.

    • 17% Decreased the project budget of nearly 17%
    • 40% Reduced rock anchor quantity by 40% thanks to the innovative 3D printing approach
    • 25% The concrete volume was reduced by 25%
    • 18% Rock excavation volume was recuced by 18%
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