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Zoo Flood Mitigation and Zoo Road Reconstruction Project

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Project update – December 12, 2017

The new 12 Street S.E. Bridge, Zoo Road and Baines Bridge are now open!

While we have completed most of the improvements, construction work will still be continuing in the area until summer 2018. This work will require temporary lane and pathway closures. Please continue to follow detour signs in this area.

About the project

The zoo was severely impacted by the 2013 floods, incurring approximately $50 million in damages that included damage to buildings and other critical infrastructure, cost of protecting animals, and loss of revenue. Recent flood maps show that the zoo is at risk of near complete inundation during a 1:20 year event – that means regular flooding if this project isn’t completed.

The Zoo Flood Mitigation project will protect the zoo against future flooding, preserving one of Calgary’s greatest assets, and ensuring that the zoo will be able to teach and delight Calgarians and visitors for generations to come.

The project includes flood protection measures such as below-ground steel sheets, above-ground berms, and a pumping system. These measures will protect the zoo to one metre above the 2013 flood, which is half of a metre above the 1:100 year flood elevation.

The scope of the project has expanded to include a full reconstruction of Zoo Road to help all users feel safer and more comfortable, and ensure a safe emergency route our of Inglewood and Ramsay. Some of the improvements to Zoo Road include:

  • Wider, standardized vehicle lanes
  • A new four-metre pathway for pedestrians and cyclists
  • New lighting for both the road and the pathway
  • Improved sightlines as you approach and exit both the 12 Street S.E. Bridge and Baines Bridge
  • Safer pedestrian crossing at the zoo’s west gate

The Zoo Flood Mitigation/Zoo Road Reconstruction Project is coordinating with the 12 Street S.E. Bridge project.

The Calgary Zoo will be open and fully operational throughout construction. Public will access the zoo via the North Gate.

Construction began in March 2016 and is planned to be complete by late 2017. The project will be complete before spring 2018.

See rendering of the project here.

Take a look at the progress we have made so far.

Baines Bridge

The scope of the Zoo Flood Mitigation Project has increased to include rehabilitation work and upgrades to Baines Bridge. Baines Bridge spans the Bow River on the north side of St. George’s Island, providing a connection to Memorial Drive. This work is being done in coordination with the Zoo Flood Mitigation Project in order to reduce the duration of construction activities in the community. The upgrades will include:

  • Repairing concrete on the bridge deck
  • New, wider pathways (2.6m on the west side and 1.5m on the east side)
  • Upgraded lighting
  • Painting railings

During construction there will be one vehicle lane open to access St.Patrick’s Island from Memorial Drive.

View a rendering of the Baines Bridge upgrades

Memorial Ramp Widening

While we are making road upgrades on the island, we will also be improving access to St. George’s Island from Memorial Drive. The east-bound off ramp from Memorial Drive to St. George’s Drive N.E. will be widened to accommodate two-way traffic, allowing for both east- and west-bound access to St. George’s Island from Memorial Drive. This will improve access to destinations like the Calgary Zoo, St. Patrick’s Island and the communities of Inglewood and Ramsay. Construction to widen the ramp will begin in August 2017 and is anticipated to be complete later this year.

Pathway Underpass at Baines Bridge

We are also making improvements for those who walk and bike in the area by constructing a pathway underpass on the north side of the Bow River at Baines Bridge to increase pedestrian safety. This pathway will allow pedestrians and cyclists to go under the bridge rather than across the road. We have already begun to prepare the site for construction which will start in August 2017.

Construction of the pathway will require 12 trees to be removed from the area. The City has developed a restoration plan that will include planting new trees, five new trees for every tree removed, and shrubs. The newly planted trees and shrubs will be strategically placed to help rehabilitate the natural areas near the bridge.

Detour Information

(Click to see larger image)

As of March 2016 Zoo road was closed to through traffic. Parking for St.Patrick’s Island can be accessed from the north side of the island by using Memorial Drive. The detour plan for September 12, 2016 – November 2017 can be found here.

Public engagement

The project team presented to the Inglewood BRZ on October 6, 2015 and held public information sessions on October 8, 2015 and February 23, 2016.

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