Implementing a flood mitigation strategy that relies on upstream storage, local barriers, and development policy changes
In 2013, flooding in southern Alberta caused widespread damage. In the community of Sunnyside in Calgary, Alberta, the flood waters overtopped the existing earthen berms and flooded the neighborhood. In response to this event, the City of Calgary brought in our team to help implement a flood mitigation strategy.
The intent of the Sunnyside Flood Control Barrier project is to raise and strengthen the existing earthen berms to mitigate the risk of damage in the event of a flood. The project extends for 2.6 kilometers, nestled in a narrow corridor between the left bank of the Bow River and Memorial Drive. The corridor has several high value trees, existing utilities and infrastructure, and the Bow River Pathway (an important and highly used pedestrian route through the center of the city). Maintaining and enhancing this route and its adjacent public spaces was a crucial element in creating a multifunctional design for the flood barrier.
The team’s design used combinations of earthen berms, concrete flood walls, and retaining walls to achieve the required service level and minimize the project footprint and tree removal, while still providing upgrades to the current multiuse pathways for Calgarians to enjoy without the risk of flood damage.
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