For years, Big Quill Lake in central Saskatchewan has been steadily rising. With
water levels increasing by close to seven metres in just the past decade, it has
posed a serious threat to a heavily-used portion of Highway 6 that traverses the
southwest corner of the lake near Dafoe, Sask.
In 2017, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure took aim at the
problem by launching a grade raise and widening project for a 2.7-kilometre stretch of
IECS Environmental Inc., a subsidiary of International Erosion Control Systems launched
in 2014 to fully service Western Canada through two new facilities in Calgary, Alta., and
Humboldt, Sask., played a key role in the Highway 6 project, providing the unique material
known Cable Concrete that was used to protect the most vulnerable sections of the newly-raised
An alternative to riprap and other traditional erosion methods, Cable Concrete is an artic-ulating
concrete block system that’s connected by lateral cabling systems. It comes ready to
install as flexible mats that conform to the terrain on the ground.
A standard mat covers about 15 square metres, and each contains 253 individual pre-cast
concrete blocks trapezoidal in shape. The mats can be made in various thicknesses to pro-vide
the specific stability required for each project, and they’re typically paired up with a geo-textile
fabric underlay used to increase soil stabilization.
“It’s all connected so it’s very stable,” said Matt McArthur, IECS Environmental Inc.’s re-gional
manager for Western Canada. He adds lab testing has shown the performance of
Cable Concrete compares favourably to loose rock erosion control measures such as riprap.
McArthur says the Cable Concrete mats used for the Highway 6 project will provide last-ing
protection from the frequent wave action that had been eroding the sides of the highway
where it crosses Big Quill Lake, the largest water body in the Quill Lakes system.
“It’s well suited for this, because it’s an engineered, hard-armoured solution that is spe-cifically
designed for wave impact erosion protection, and it’s been proven by over three de-cades
of successful projects,” said McArthur.
McArthur maintains the Cable Concrete alongside Highway 6 is expected to last 50 to 60
years. “I visited the site in June of 2018 and everything looks great. The product is doing ex-actly
what it was designed to do,” he said.
International Erosion Control Systems has been
resolving environmental erosion challenges with
its innovative Cable Concrete product for decades.
Here’s a look at one of its latest successes that
took place in central Saskatchewan in 2017.
By Mark Halsall
PHOTOS: MATT McARTHUR, IECS ENVIRONMENTAL INC.
thinkbigmagazine.ca | Quarter 4 2018 | Think BIG 35