Whitemud Creek Arch: An Impressive Urban Adventure
It was one of Edmonton’s best-kept secrets, until it was featured in a video that went viral.
Nestled beneath the highway on the city’s southside, atop an old coal mining site used in the early to mid-1900s, the Whitemud Creek Arch is difficult to find.
But after receiving a social media shoutout for its striking aesthetic—receiving almost 140,000 views in two months—it has come to be known as one of Edmonton’s hidden treasures.
One of the city’s only wildlife pathways to incorporate a pedestrian walkway above it, the bridge was completed in 2005 and features a unique, semi-circular structure that spans 20 metres. The curved pedestrian pathway lies seven metres above the stream it mimics, separating and protecting human and beast.
An aerial view of the Whitemud Creek Arch combines a wildlife pathway with a pedestrian walkway, keeping animals and humans safe from the highway above.
Concrete horizontal support beams create a rhythm of light and shade from above, while natural stones set in the streambed slab disguise the arch’s concrete base. Rock riprap encourages the growth of vegetation and mosses to support the fish habitat.
A giant oculus opens the centre of the arch, letting in light for pedestrians and promoting the growth of vegetation along the creek. It doubles as a compass, with the four cardinal directions listed in large, polished letters to orient those who pass by.
Designed by a team of three engineering firms —UMA Engineering, Associated Engineering, and AMEC—with HFKS Architects providing the stunning visuals, the award-winning Whitemud Creek Arch will last longer and cost less over its lifetime than a traditional bridge, and it can accommodate future road widening.
It’s a modern marvel not to be missed— if you can find it.
An oculus at the top of the Whitemud Creek Arch doubles as a compass, orienting those who pass by.