St. Andrews Lock and Dam

Learn about the St. Andrews Lock and Dam and the project to replace the bridge deck.

View enlarged image of the St. Andrews Lock and Dam

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Current projects

We regularly do repair and maintenance work to keep the lock and dam working smoothly.

Bridge Deck replacement project

This project will replace the part of the bridge that vehicles and pedestrians use.

Overview

The main span of the bridge was built in 1951. It is close to 70 years old. The last time we did a major project to restore and repair the bridge was in 1993. The bridge deck is at the end of its service life and must be replaced.

About the project

This Bridge Deck Replacement project will address a number of issues. It will make the bridge easier to use, more durable and safer. The work includes:

  • replacing the main span deck with wider traffic lanes
  • increasing the width of the sidewalk
  • adding accessible ramps on either end of the bridge
  • restoring and repairing the approach spans and the steel support structure to allow for increased speed and load limits

Benefits

The benefits of the project will include:

  • extending the overall service life of the facility
  • making the lock and dam easier to use, more durable and safer
  • removing existing load restrictions
  • improving speed limits on the bridge
  • preserving the heritage value of the facility, as it is the last remaining Camere-style dam in the world

The project will improve the transport of goods and service through this area. We expect that this will stimulate growth, help local businesses and improve the provincial economy.

Impact

The deck replacement project will impact local traffic. We expect that at least one lane of traffic will be closed during construction.

If we need to close the bridge completely, we will plan closures for non-peak periods, such as after rush hour. If we do have to close the bridge, we will advise the public ahead of time.

Contract awarded

A contract for design and engineering work was awarded to Associated Engineering in the fall of 2019.

A construction contract was awarded to M.D. Steele Ltd. on June 16, 2021

Timelines

Phase 1 (design and engineering) was completed in December 2020.

Phase 2 (construction) is planned to start in summer 2021. The work will take about 2 years to complete. The project is expected to be completed by winter 2023 at the latest.

History and features of the lock and dam

The St. Andrews Lock and Dam is in Lockport, Manitoba. It is 27 kilometres north of Winnipeg along the Red River. Former Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier officially opened the lock and dam in 1910.

The lock and dam was built in the early 20th century so that boats could navigate from Lake Winnipeg to the City of Winnipeg. It allows this by flooding the Lister Rapids between May and October.

PSPC operates and maintains the St. Andrews Lock and Dam. The facility consists of:

Most parts of the dam and lock are original from when it was built.

H. E. Vautelet, an engineer from Montréal, designed the St. Andrews Lock and Dam. It is largest structure of its kind in the world!

View enlarged image of the St. Andrews Lock and Dam aerial view

Red River Basin

A drainage basin, or watershed, is an area of land that drains waterways and precipitation to a common outlet. The drainage basin that affects the Red River covers an area of 260,000 square kilometres. The basin extends into the United States and even to the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border. The Red River flows north from the USA to Lake Winnipeg.

Between May and October, PSPC St. Andrews Lock and Dam are used to manage water levels on the portion of the Red River between the dam and the upstream James Avenue pumping station. The dam will continue to operate on schedule during the bridge construction period.

About the dam and bridge

The dam is a “Camere” style dam. It uses moveable curtains which we raise or lower to control water flow. The curtains are made up of narrow horizontal strips of wood hinged together. There are 89 movable curtains in the dam. Each one is built from 50 thin, narrow strips of Douglas fir wood. Each curtain is 4 metres long and 2.1 metres wide.

French engineer M. Camere invented this type of dam. It was popular in Western Europe in the late 19th century.

We replace the curtains roughly every 3 years. Workers need to replace the curtains by hand, so it is labour intensive.

Here are some facts about the dam and bridge:

A National Historic Civil Engineering Site

In 1990, the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering designated the St. Andrews Caméré Curtain Bridge Dam a National Historic Civil Engineering Site.

The engineering society recognized it because it is perhaps the only surviving moveable dam of its kind in the world. We installed a monument to observe the distinction.

About the lock

The lock is the only one on the Prairies. It measure 11 meters deep, 62 meters long and 13.7 meters wide. Each season, hundreds of boats and thousands of passengers go through the lock. The lock is drained and filled by gravity. It takes a boat or other watercraft about 20 minutes to pass through the St. Andrews lock.

Here are some facts about the lock:

Using the lock

The lock is open to boaters between May and October 15. It operates 16 hours a day, 7 days a week

Season

The lock-master chooses the date that the locks will open. He or she chooses the date based on the conditions of the river. The lock is open to navigation between May and October 15.

Hours of operation

  • 8 am to 12 am (midnight)
  • The last lock of the day begins at 11:30 pm

Vessels

The lock is available to any boat or vessel, by request.

Employees

There are currently 11 Public Services and Procurement Canada employees operating the site. This includes 6 full-time and 5 seasonal workers.

More information

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