Last month, heavy rains and rising water levels once again threatened flooding across southern Alberta. In order to protect a temporary bridge support, the contractor brought in 150 cubic metres of rock – enough to fill 12 dump trucks. Ultimately, the water rose 1.3 metres, leaving the construction berm under nearly a metre of water.
Water levels are now dropping slowly, and the 2014 flood damage is being assessed. At current rates, there may be a delay before the water is low enough to get construction equipment back on the berm. Alternatives are being investigated to determine if there is a way to resume construction more quickly.
Unrelated to the high water, there has also been difficulty with drilling the two piles to support the new pier. Initial subsurface investigations have been completed and a solution is being developed.
Last summer, in consultation with local leaders, the decision was made to repair the bridge after the 2013 flood rather than replace it. Replacing the bridge would have required a three year closure of the crossing. This river crossing is essential for emergency vehicles, school transport, businesses and general access in and out of the adjacent communities.
Alberta Transportation now anticipates that Highway 547 may remain closed until August 29, 2014 but is working to have it done sooner.
- The $2.1 million bridge repair will maintain the continued use of the bridge for the next 10 years.
- Signage is in place directing motorists to a detour of approximately 50 kilometres.
- The next Bow River crossings are Highway 24 to the west and Highway 842 to the east.
- Fines for speeding double in construction zones.
- Motorists are reminded to obey all flag persons, signs and signals.
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