According to Rocky View County (RVC), construction on the ongoing Bragg Creek Flood Mitigation Project – a government-funded initiative that aims to provide full flood protection to the hamlet of Bragg Creek – is ramping up in preparation for its anticipated completion this summer.
Design stages of the project began in 2016 and were followed by a lengthy land negotiation process, with construction underway in 2020. According to Angela Yurkowski, capital project manager at RVC, the project began in direct response to the flooding that occurred in southern Alberta in 2013.
“Bragg Creek as a community has been subject to historical flooding, but the primary driver of this project, and the primary response [was] the 2013 flood,” she said. “It caused widespread damage throughout the entire region and the hamlet of Bragg Creek was devastated by that flood.”
Yurkowski said the hamlet saw the destruction of private and public infrastructure, and extensive damage to people's homes, businesses, community amenities, and roadways following the historic flood. She added the flooding was a result of the Elbow River overflowing its banks.
“During that flood, the Elbow River entirely overtopped the banks and flooded out a huge area within the community,” she said, adding the hamlet is located within a flood fringe. “This project is a direct response to mitigate future flooding of the hamlet – this is to protect the community for a future one-in-100 [years] flood event.”
She said flood protection that will result from current mitigation efforts will safeguard public infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and utilities, homes, and commercial buildings in a major flood event.
She added Wilco Southwest Contractors Inc., which was awarded the contract through a public call to tender process, is planning to work in an expedited manner to reach completion by a tentative date of this June.
“We’re at 2022 now and we’re just really looking forward to working with the project team and bringing the project to completion,” Yurkowski said. “It’s going to be a great thing for the community and for the county.”
Along with the hired contractor, RVC is working to construct flood barrier structures on the north and south side of the Elbow River to protect the hamlet. The flood barrier structures are comprised of earthen and landscape berms, and concrete retaining walls for a total length of 4,062 metres.
Additionally, 475 metres of riverbank in erosion-prone areas are being stabilized through the project, according to Yurkowski. She added the project is sponsored and funded by both the federal and provincial governments.
As a result of heavy construction in the area, residents should expect “disruptions and nuisances” throughout the day, including noise, dust, and traffic concerns. Residents are encouraged to follow all posted signage, exercise patience, and watch for workers and moving equipment near construction sites.
“There has been an impact to the community with regard to the construction of the project,” Yurkowski said. “We’ve been doing our best through our contractor through website and on-site notifications to advise the community of what the impacts are.
“Our contractor has done a number of things to try to mitigate the impacts on the community.”
Steps taken to mitigate the effects of construction on residents include designated work hours in compliance with the County’s noise bylaw, not working on Sunday unless absolutely necessary, a water truck and road sweeper on-site to abate dust on gravel roads and the construction site, and keeping paved roads clean of mud and gravel.
Finally, truck hauling weight will be in accordance with the County Road Bans and trucks will have dedicated haul routes approved and monitored by RVC.
“We’re very much looking forward to bringing this project to a successful completion and having the community protected and being able to complete such a significant project,” Yurkowski said. “This project is essential to protect the community against future flooding events.”
She added while residents may not see activity on site right now due to winter weather, it is important to tread with caution and obey all on-site signage and notices and be cognizant the area remains an active construction site.