With the completion of the Downtown Flood Barrier and Eau Claire Promenade, the City of Calgary’s downtown communities are now protected by a continuous flood wall spanning from Peace Bridge to Reconciliation Bridge.
After three years of construction, the completion of the Eau Claire Area Improvement projects, which include the new Jaipur Bridge and Centre Street Pedestrian Ramps, is a major milestone for Downtown Calgary and the Eau Claire area.
“Protecting Calgarians and our communities from floods is a top priority for our city,” said Frank Frigo, manager of Environmental Management and Project Sponsor. “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.”
The Downtown Flood Barrier is a continuous 1.39km long structure consisting of steel sheet piles, earthen berms, concrete walls, and demountable stop log openings built to resist a 1,200-year flood event. This will ensure that Calgary’s downtown core will not experience flooding as it had during the 2013 flood, which was the largest disaster in Canadian history at the time.
“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.
The Downtown Flood Barrier and Eau Claire Promenade were designed to fit with the vision of the Eau Claire public realm plan by creating a connected neighbourhood, which includes creating safe, efficient, and beautiful riverfront multi-modal connections such as the Centre Street Pedestrian Ramps and Jaipur Bridge that are complete and fully open to the public. The Downtown Flood Barrier design also coordinates with the Eau Claire Plaza redesign which is expected to be complete in 2025.
“We’re investing in areas where Calgarians can proudly participate in a desirable, active and lively cultural destination,” said Thom Mahler, director of the Downtown Strategy. “As we work to diversify our downtown to attract more residents, tourists and talent, investments in great public space and amenity is critical to our success. The completion of these projects is a major step toward the implementation of our strategy.”
Public Realm improvements were seamlessly integrated into the project and included wider pathways, accessibility improvements, delineated routes for different modes of travel, and more space for people to stop to enjoy the area. It also includes multiple public realm improvements such as a lagoon platform, Eau Claire feature bench, and lighting and landscaping enhancements.
“We are really excited to deliver this project which protects downtown communities while also enhancing the public spaces along one of the busiest pathway corridors in The City,” said Devon Moore, Public Spaces Delivery Project Manager. “I want to thank the community for their support and patience over the past three years of construction.”
Funding for the Downtown Flood Barrier and Eau Claire Promenade is a collaboration between the federal government, the province, and The City. The coordinated approach to these infrastructure projects ensures the total combined investment of $49.8 million is used more efficiently with a greater impact on the community.
Featured image: (City of Calgary)