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Restoring flood damaged pathways

Before flood, after flood and flood repaired images of Stoney Trail pedestrian bridge

Long-term pathway repairs

Many of our pathways along the Bow and Elbow rivers were hit hard by the raging waters during the 2013 flood. The event that June was devastating and since then, we have been working diligently to piece the broken pathway system together. Visit Flooding in Calgary to learn more about our flood recovery projects.

In some cases, there is no quick fix. There are unstable escarpments that pose a real hazard to citizens. Entire chunks of paved pathway have virtually broken away and no longer exist. The dynamics of the river has changed forever and as a result, some sections of pathway will need to be re-built from scratch and relocated.

Edworthy Park pathway where the river has erroded the land away.
Edworthy Park - yellow dotted lines depict missing pathway

What does this mean for those who commute to work by bike, enjoy walks along the pathway, or use the pathway for other forms of recreation? Unfortunately, it means that they may have to take an alternate route for a part of the commute. If the pathway requires a complete rebuild, it may take a year or more to allow time for design and rebuild.

In some sections of the hardest hit areas, Calgary Parks is facing several obstacles:

  • The river bank may have been lost which the pathway was constructed on, which may mean building back into the river. This requires the approval of regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the river;
  • Work in or near the waterways is governed by several Provincial and Federal Acts, such as the Federal Fisheries Act, the Provincial Water Act and the Public Lands Act, and can only be completed during specific times of the year to not disturb fish habitat; and
  • We may not own the land that needs repairing and therefore third-party agreements are required to get permission from the landowners.

Alternative routes have been established where it has not been possible to immediately restore pathways to their existing alignment. If you come across a closure on a pathway or trail, the destroyed section may not be immediately visible, but could be located further along. In other situations, there may be unstable ground or other dangers that could be a hazard. Please obey all signage and take care and caution when using pathways in the city.

The following are some of the “hot spots” of the pathway system that will take considerable time to restore:

Northeast

  • Nose Creek area adjacent to Telus Spark will be undergoing bank stabilization to mitigate erosion and bank failure. Project is in the initial planning stage with pathway re-alignment occurring when plans are established.

Northwest

  • Edworthy Park to Sovereign Crescent on the South Bow River: This seasonal patwhay is closed during winter months. Design is currently underway, construction will likely occur in 2017.
  • The Douglas Fir Trail: Closed due to flood related damage and stability concerns. Planning has begun to re-establish this recreational trail to mitigate erosion and slope concern. Work plan expected to take place in 2017.
  • The Bowness Trestle (Truss) Bridge Underpass: The Bowmont Catwalk Restoration construction is complete. The underpass is open and available for public use.
  • Bank stabilization in Bowmont Park at 52 Street N.W.: Work is complete and open for public use.

Southeast

Sue Higgins Park missing a pathway section
Sue Higgins Park pathway damage
  • Bonnybrook Bridge: The pathway connection from Ogden Road to Inglewood Bird Sanctuary at 9 Avenue S.E. and into the downtown core has been re-established and is now open for public use.
  • Beaverdam Flats and Old Refinery: Work is continuing throughout the park, estimated work completion date will be November 2018.
  • Sue Higgins Park & Off-Leash area: Work on the pathways adjacent to the LaFarge Plant are complete and open for use.
  • Pathway Alignment Northwest of Ball Diamond in Douglasdale/Glen: Sections under Deerfoot Trail adjacent to ENMAX power substation have been re-aligned to accomodate and are open for use.
  • In McKenzie Lake, Mt. Alberta View remains closed due to slope conditions. This pathway was closed prior to the June 2013 flood.

We recognize the value that citizens place on the Bow and Elbow River pathways, as both a place for recreation and as a commuter link into the downtown core. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we rebuild and improve the safety of our parks and pathways. For more information please contact 311 or visit Flooding in Calgary

Report a pathway concern