MD of Bighorn and Lafarge partner on $10.3 million project to help protect people, property
Debris-food mitigation for Exshaw Creek, designed to protect people and property from the effects of a natural disaster, is underway in the MD of Bighorn. Construction of the $10.3 million project began on April 1, 2019 and work is expected to be completed by October. Final touches, including landscaping, will be done in the spring of 2020.
Designed for a one in 500-year event, construction includes a debris retention structure to minimize the quantity of fallen trees from reaching Highway 1A. The creek channel will be widened and deepened to contain flood flow. A sediment basin will be excavated for the deposition of debris to minimize potential blockage to bridge crossings at Highway 1A, CP Railway, and Diamond Drive. An overflow weir and outlet channel will be constructed to direct the flood flow to the Bow River. Class 3 and Class 4 riprap will be provided for erosion protection. The MD of Bighorn awarded the contract to Devcon Inc. Construction will be on hold during the spring runoff.
“This is a robust response to the flooding of 2013. There has been a lot of work done upfront, from design to securing funding commitments. Kickstarting construction is the culmination of these efforts and the last step to securing the safety of the Exshaw community from unprecedented and unexpected flooding,” said Reeve Dene Cooper.
Over 58,000 tonnes of riprap stone, a year supply of production, is being provided by Lafarge to help reinforce the banks of Exshaw Creek. Lafarge is also providing 3.2 hectares of land, including 1.6 hectares of privately-owned land and 1.6 hectares of Crown land that is leased by the cement plant. The total value of Lafarge’s contribution is $3.7 million.
“As a partner with the municipality, Lafarge has stepped up with their in-kind contribution of rip-rap and land to ensure this project is economically feasible for the MD and protects the residents of Exshaw,” said Councillor Paul Ryan.
“This initiative shows the MD of Bighorn and Lafarge working together to make sure we come up with the best solution for the community and for the plant,” said Kate Strachan, manager of Lafarge Exshaw Cement Plant. “Many of our employees were at the plant, separated from their families by the flood. Despite personal worries, they worked tirelessly for the good of the entire community; ferrying load after load of boulders, placing rock to prevent further damage, and excavating the creek bed to stop further erosion. This project benefits the community and also helps protect our plant’s creek side property from any future flooding,’ Strachan added.
The federal government is providing $1.9 million to the flood mitigation project through Infrastructure Canada; part of a larger plan to reduce flood risk across the province. The Government of Alberta has committed $3.3 million.