Brooks Aqueduct

Where: Brooks, AB.

Engineer: Hugh B. Muckleton and H. M Gibb

Date of construction: 1912 - 1914

Brooks Aqueduct, Brooks, AB. (Source: CSCE)

Site Location: Lat.: 50° – 31’ – 54” N; Long.: 111° – 50’ – 17” W. (GPS: 50.5317958,-111.8380576). From the Trans Canada Highway 1, south east of Brooks, take 142 Range Road south– it is the only intersection on Highway 1 between the interchange at Brooks and Tillebrook Provincial Park. Drive 3.1 km and look for the interpretative centre on the right.

Plaque Location: The plaque is mounted on a plinth located beside a path to a stairway that starts from the right side of the information kiosk.

Plaque on plinth, to the left of the path at the foot of the stairs. (Source: R. E. Loov)

National Historic Site plaque. (Source: CSCE)

Construction of the siphon inlet with wooden framing. (Source: Eastern Irrigation District B 3000/preserve.ucalgary.ca).

Description: Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1912 and 1914, the aqueduct is a 3.2 km. (2 mi.) long reinforced concrete trestle with a maximum height of 9.5 m (64 ft.). The structure incorporates some 19,000 m3 (25,000 yd3) of concrete and 1800 tonnes (2,000) tons of reinforcing steel. It was constructed over three summers by a crew of up to 300. The trestle supports a suspended shell designed to carry water east from Lake Newell. An inverted siphon transports the water under the Canadian Pacific Railway line. The Engineers responsible for the structural and hydraulic design were Hugh B. Muckleton and H. M Gibb. It was replaced by a canal in 1979.

Typical cross-section of flume section – Brooks Aqueduct. (Source: Plan 2005 – 11 – 9, Canadian Pacific Railway Co., Department of Natural Resources, Irrigation Branch, Eastern Section, Brooks Aqueduct).

Historic Significance: The Brooks Aqueduct was constructed as part of an extensive irrigation project intended to make land in the south-eastern region of Alberta suitable for farming. The aqueduct is a significant civil engineering structure from both design and construction perspectives. At a time when reinforced concrete was not in wide use, its size, length, materials used, the volume of water carried and the siphon under the CPR line all presented unusual design problems. The hydrostatic catenary design of the flume minimized resistance to water flow.

Plaque detail. (Source: R. E. Loov)

Plaque Wording: National Historic Civil Engineering Site. CSCE. BROOKS AQUEDUCT 1914-1979. A monument to the achievements of those civil engineers who developed irrigation in Southern Alberta. Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. 1988.

SCGC. Site Historique National de Génie Civil. 1914-1979 L’AQUEDUC DE BROOKS. Un monument en hommage aux ingénieurs civils qui on développé l’irrigation au sud de l’Alberta. Société canadienne de genie civil. 1988.

Plaque Unveiling Ceremony: The plaque was unveiled at the site on May 28, 1988. Present for the unveiling were: Daniel W. Smith, CSCE President; W. ‘Bill’ Mortensen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Irrigation District (E.I.D.); Anthony Kruysse, Chair of the CSCE National History Committee; Jim Webber, General Manager of the E.I.D; and David Manz and Robert Loov of the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary. The nomination document was co-authored by Manz, Loov and Webber and was presented at the 1988 Annual Conference in Calgary.

Plaque presented by Daniel W. Smith, CSCE President, to W. “Bill” Mortensen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Irrigation District. (Source: CSCE)

Left to right: David Manz, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary; Jim Webber, Manager of the Eastern Irrigation District; Daniel W. Smith; Anthony Kruysse, Chair of the CSCE National History Committee; W. ‘Bill’ Mortensen; and, Robert Loov, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary. (Source: CSCE)

Links to Online Documentation

David H. Manz, Robert E. Loov and Jim Webber, “Brooks Aqueduct”, Can. J. Civ. Eng., 1989.

“Official Brooks Aqueduct” homepage

Brooks Aqueduct National and Provincial Historic Site homepage

Brooks Aqueduct Parks Canada homepage.

Eastern Irrigation District, “Brooks Aqueduct History”.

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