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Glenmore Dam infrastructure improvements

After more than 85 years of service, the Glenmore Dam has undergone an extensive upgrade.

The last three years of construction has involved:

  • Rehabilitating the dam
  • Adding intermediate piers
  • A weir crest extension
  • Replacing the former wooden stop log system with new, higher steel gates including independent hoists to raise and lower the gates.
  • Replacing the bridge deck to make more space for pathway users

What are the benefits?

Increases the lifespan of the dam

The rehabilitation of the dam extends its lifespan so this key piece of our water infrastructure system will continue to serve the drinking water supply needs of Calgarians for future generations.

Increases our water supply resiliency to better manage low river flows in the winter and high river flows in the spring.

The steel gates can withstand loading from ice and allows The City to operate the reservoir at its full supply level during the winter months. This amounts to double the volume of water available for supply to the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant. This added water supply resiliency is a benefit to all Calgarians every year during the winter low flow period in the Elbow River. 

The higher steel gates with independent hoists also makes it possible to better manage high river flow events in the spring. The 2.5m steel gates increases the storage by approximately 10 million cubic meters.  

Improves recreational experience for pathway users

A new and improved wider bridge deck improves the experience for cyclists and pedestrians. The bridge deck across the dam is a critical link in the pathway system and with the reopening this summer it will allow pathway users to circle the entire reservoir and enjoy spectacular views of Calgary’s landscape.

What will the improvements look like?

Photo Gallery - Unclassified

  • Installation is complete on all 21 new steel gates for the Glenmore Dam. Some of the gates are raised as part of the final commissioning process (April 2020).
  • Crews are continuing work on the bridge deck, which is scheduled to be reopened to the public in summer 2020.
  • All of the gates go through a series of tests as part of the commissioning process (April 2020).
  • Hoist pier construction (Summer/Fall 2019)
  • Hoist platform – south Access House construction (November 2019)
  • The installation of the dam gates started in November 2019. There are 21 gates total that span across the length of dam. The last gate was installed mid-February 2020.
  • A floating barge with a crane was used in the construction of all concrete structures, as well as for the installation of the gates and hoist system
  • The gates are raised and lowered using a hoist. It will be powered electrically meaning the gates can be raised or lowered in a matter of minutes. The gates shown here are in the down position.
  • Gates raised to maintenance position
  • The new, steel gates are 6 metres long, are 2.5 metres high and weigh approximately 4,000 kg each
  • A birds-eye view of the new bridge deck pathway. Pedestrian sidewalks will line either side of the bridge deck while a divided pathway in the middle will be reserved for cyclists.

Architectural renderings

Architectural renderings 

Architectural renderings 

Architectural renderings 

Project update – March 2020

Upgrades to the Glenmore Dam are nearing completion.

  • The new, higher gates will be working in time for the 2020 flood season.
  • We’re anticipating the bridge deck and pathway will be reopened to the public this summer.

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Construction impacts

  • The public pathway across the Glenmore Dam bridge deck will remain closed until project completion (estimated summer 2020). A detour with signage is in place.
  • Public parking is restricted. Due to construction traffic, parking will be temporarily eliminated north of 14 St. S.W.
  • The project remains on schedule. As a result, we don't foresee a disruption to the 2020 boating season. Given the complex nature of the project, the possibility of unforeseen weather events could impact or change timelines.
  • Safety is our top priority. Throughout the project, some areas may be temporarily fenced off to accommodate construction.
  • Work will be performed from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Periods of 24-hour activity are anticipated but are not expected to cause noise related issues.

About the Glenmore Dam

Built in 1933, the Glenmore Dam together with the Glenmore Water Treatment Plan were built to provide drinking water to Calgarians. The Glenmore Dam resulted in the creation of the Glenmore reservoir, which stores our water supply.

The Glenmore Water Treatment Plan is one of two water treatment plants that supplies over 1.3 million Calgarians and surrounding communities with high quality drinking water.


Construction milestones

  • Elevated hoist platform completed (piers, walkway and railings)
  • All gates (21) and hoists (21) have been installed.
  • All new electrical components installed and energized.
  • New pathway (bike/walkway) nearing completion.
  • Screenhouse work completed
  • Lighting installation underway.
  • Crane/barge assembly on the reservoir (upstream) to be removed in April
  • Continuation of all site environmental inspections
  • Continued focus on site safety with no incidents to date