Calgary, known for its picturesque cityscape and vibrant downtown, took a significant step towards protecting itself from future flooding threats. After three years of construction, a $50 million flood barrier project was unveiled on Thursday, signaling a major accomplishment for the city’s flood mitigation efforts.
Mayor Jyoti Gondek, together with provincial and federal representatives, celebrated the completion of the flood barrier at Eau Claire. Standing near the redesigned Jaipur Bridge, which was submerged during the devastating flood of 2013, Mayor Gondek emphasized the importance of this project in fortifying Calgary’s defenses against flooding.
Covering a distance of 1.4 kilometers, the flood barrier is a formidable structure comprising steel sheet piles, earthen berms, concrete walls, and demountable stop log openings designed to withstand a one-in-200-year flood event. This final stage of the four-phase project connects existing flood protections at west Eau Claire and Centre Street, forming a comprehensive 4.1-kilometer barrier along the south bank of the riverfront from the Peace Bridge to Reconciliation Bridge.
By reducing downtown’s vulnerability to flood damage by over 50%, city officials are confident that this flood barrier will prove instrumental in safeguarding Calgary’s urban core. Frank Frigo, the city’s manager of environmental management, highlighted that the barrier is engineered to withstand flood events “significantly larger” than the one Calgary experienced a decade ago.
The project not only included the construction of the flood barrier but also involved the replacement of the Jaipur Bridge and enhancements to the Eau Claire Promenade. With the City of Calgary contributing approximately $23 million to the project and the rest funded by the provincial and federal governments, the barriers are complemented by wider pathways, landscaping improvements, pedestrian-friendly features, benches, and enhanced lighting.
As Calgary commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the devastating 2013 flood, Mayor Gondek emphasized the city’s progress in building resilience. The completion of the flood barrier is just the beginning, as Frank Frigo and Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver announced that more flood mitigation projects are on the horizon. This includes the construction of a similar barrier on the north bank of the Bow River, further protecting communities like Sunnyside and Kensington.
With ongoing construction of the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir and plans for an additional dam upstream from Calgary, the city is demonstrating its commitment to better prepare for future flooding. Reflecting on the progress made, Minister McIver stated, “We’re much better prepared for another flood the size of 2013 than we were in 2013. And the work continues.”
Q: What is the purpose of the flood barrier project in Calgary?
A: The flood barrier project is designed to protect downtown Calgary from potential flooding threats.
Q: How long did it take to complete the flood barrier project?
A: The flood barrier project took three years to complete.
Q: What is the significance of the flood barrier project?
A: The flood barrier project is a crucial addition to Calgary’s flood mitigation efforts, greatly reducing downtown’s exposure to flood damage.
Q: What is the capacity of the flood barrier to withstand flood events?
A: The flood barrier is engineered to withstand a flood event “significantly larger” than the one Calgary experienced in 2013.
Q: Are there any future flood mitigation projects planned?
A: Yes, Calgary has more flood mitigation projects in development, including the construction of another barrier on the north bank of the Bow River and the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir.