Community Update: Construction Update

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Work at Hogs Back Dam and Fixed Bridge

April 12, 2019 – Work on phase one of the Hogs Back Dam and Fixed Bridge Rehabilitation is progressing well. In early May, the contractor will pause over the navigation season and work will resume in fall 2019.

Construction Progress

The contractor has now completed the demolition of the existing east upstream retaining wall, as well as preparation for the new retaining wall footing. Concrete for the footings will be poured in the upcoming weeks. The excavation and the initial concrete pour for the east bridge abutment extension has also been completed.

Recently, the cofferdam enclosing the work area on the east bridge abutment and upstream retaining wall was reduced in size. This was done to allow the passage of spring flows through the dam.

Fall 2019

When work resumes in fall 2019, the contractor will focus on concrete repairs to the west abutment and its pedestrian tunnel. The most westerly pier and a section of the west upstream retaining wall will be repaired. During construction, the pedestrian tunnel under the west abutment will be closed. Details on this closure will be communicated as we near this portion of work. This phase of work is expected to be completed in spring 2020.

Final Phase – Spring 2020

The final phase of work at Hogs Back Dam and Fixed Bridge is scheduled to begin in spring 2020. This phase will include the replacement of the fixed bridge deck. In order to complete this work, Hogs Back Road, between Colonel By Drive and the entrance to Hogs Back Park, will be closed. Closure and detour plans will be provided to the public once they are confirmed. This full project is expected to be completed in spring 2021.

This project is part of Parks Canada’s unprecedented $3 billion dollar investment over 5 years to support infrastructure work to heritage, visitor, waterway and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas across Canada. These investments represent the largest federal infrastructure plan in the history of Parks Canada.

About Hogs Back Dam and Fixed Bridge

Hogs Back Dam built circa 1935

Construction of the first dam at Hogs Back began in the late 1820s. Throughout its construction, the dam was compromised by unexpected high waters and winter frost impacting its foundation. This resulted in its collapse on three separate occasions. Colonel By’s team eventually installed timber cribwork and added a waste weir to allow excess water to bypass the main dam during high flows. This dam was completed in 1830. It sustained significant damage throughout the mid-to-late 1800s and was reconstructed in the early 1890s. In 1935, yet another version of the dam was built along with a concrete bridge. Those were replaced in 1977 by the dam and fixed bridge that can be seen on site today.

Hogs Back Dam is the currently the second highest dam on the Rideau Canal system, following the dam located at Jones Falls.

For More Information:

For up-to-date news about Parks Canada infrastructure work in this area, please visit If you have any questions about any of the project, or if you would like to receive email updates, please email us at: and include “Hogs Back” in the subject heading.

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