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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 flood. The event in June was devastating and since then, The City of Calgary Parks has been working diligently to piece the broken pathway system together. Visit Flooding in Calgary to learn more about The City's 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, The City of 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
  • The City 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:


  • Edworthy Park to Sovereign Crescent on the South Bow River: Will remain closed well into 2015. This seasonal pathway is closed during winter months. Design is currently underway, construction will likely occur in 2015.
  • The Douglas Fir Trail: Closed due to flood related damage and stability concerns.
  • Stoney Trail Pedestrian Bridge: Now open as pathway work is complete.
  • The Bowness Trestle (Truss) Bridge Underpass: The Bowmont Catwalk Restoration construction tender has been advertised, with the bridge component fabrication to proceed off-site over the summer, and the structure installation then anticipated for the fall.
  • Bank stabilization in Bowmont Park at 52 Street N.W.: The work at this location has begun and is expected to be completed by end of May 2015.

City Centre/Elbow River

Memorial Drive pathway damage
Memorial Drive pathway damage
  • Significant changes to the stability of riverbanks occurred during the flood. The City is completing bank repair, stabilization work and regional pathway repair work required in critical and priority areas in many locations along the rivers.
  • The Elbow River from 9 Avenue S.E. to Macleod Trail S.E. sustained major damage in the flooding. Work was completed and pathway reopened in October 2014.
  • Work is complete on the river bank along Memorial Dr between Center St and Prince’s Island Pedestrian Bridge.
  • The pathway along Memorial Drive at 19 Street N.W. was completed by Water Services in Spring 2014.
  • Design work and construction is finished on the pedestrian bridges along the Elbow River.


Sue Higgins Park missing a pathway section
Sue Higgins Park pathway damage
  • The river bank needs to be rebuilt under the Bonnybrook Bridge requires rebuilding because it provides a pathway connection from Ogden Road to Inglewood Bird Sanctuary at 9 Avenue S.E. and into the downtown core. Parks is currently exploring bank stabilization and other work required in the area. In the meantime, The City of Calgary, in cooperation with Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), has paved a temporary pathway through CPR lands. Please note that speed limits of 10km/hr are posted and caution is advised due to the ongoing construction in the detour pathway area. Some delays and short closures may be necessary.
  • Beaverdam Flats and Old Refinery: Work is continuing throughout the park, estimated work completion date will be November 2015.
  • Sue Higgins Park & Off-Leash area: Pathways adjacent to the LaFarge Plant are anticipated to be paved and available for use by end of May, 2015.
  • Sue Higgins pedestrian bridge has been reopened.
  • Pathway Alignment Northwest of Ball Diamond in Douglasdale/Glen: Sections under Deerfoot Trail adjacent to ENMAX power substation will be paved by end of May 2015. Sections of the pathway leading to the Power Substation from the Ball Diamonds are still being re-aligned.
  • In McKenzie Lake, Mt. Alberta View remains closed. This pathway was closed prior to the June flood.

Parks recognizes 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