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$50M Calgary Downtown Flood Barrier construction complete

Calgarians living downtown along the Bow River can stress a bit less if a flood is forecasted, as the city announces the completion of a flood mitigation project. Jillian Code reports.

After three years of construction, the city’s $49.8 million Downtown Flood Barrier and Eau Claire Promenade are complete.

Now, Calgary’s downtown is protected by a continuous flood wall spanning from Peace Bridge to Reconciliation Bridge. It also includes the completion of Jaipur Bridge and Centre Street Pedestrian Ramps.

“Protecting Calgarians and our communities from floods is a top priority for our city,” Frank Frigo, Manager of Environmental Management and Project Sponsor, said in a prepared statement at a news conference Thursday.

“The Downtown Flood Barrier is a key example of flood mitigation work, implemented since the 2013 flood, that has reduced our city’s exposure to flood damages by more than 50 per cent. With the completion of the Province’s Springbank Reservoir project over the next two years, damage exposure will be reduced by 70 per cent.”

WATCH: Calgary flood: preventing another disaster

The flood barrier is a continuous 1.39-kilometre-long structure consisting of steel sheet piles, earthen berms, concrete walls, and demountable stop log openings meant to resist a 1:200-year flood event.

This follows the flooding Calgary experienced in 2013, which was the largest disaster in Canadian history at the time.

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The city says the construction was designed to fit a “vision” of the Eau Claire public realm plan, which includes “safe, efficient, and beautiful riverfront multi-modal connections,” like the completed Centre Street Pedestrian Ramps and Jaipur Bridge.

The flood barrier design coordinates with the Eau Claire Plaza redesign, which the city says is expected to be completed by 2025.

“Calgary is more resilient to flooding today thanks to The City’s commitment and contributions from the Provincial and Federal Governments. Each one of these public realm improvement projects was designed to make our city stronger. We prioritized creating spaces where people feel welcomed all the while ensuring Calgarians will be more protected from flooding events in the future,” said Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

Funding for the flood barrier and the promenade is a collaboration between the Canadian, provincial, and municipal governments.

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