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Calgary unveils flood mitigation barrier built to protect downtown

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Work on a lengthy project meant to protect the city from future flooding is now complete.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek was joined by Calgary Skyview MP George Chahal and Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver on Thursday to announce the downtown flood barrier and Eau Claire Promenade is now complete.

The downtown flood barrier, Eau Claire Promenade and new Jaipur Bridge and Centre Centre pedestrian ramps took three years to build.

"Calgary is more resilient to flooding today thanks to the city's commitment and contributions from the provincial and federal governments," Gondek said Thursday.

"Each one of these public realm improvement projects was designed to make our city stronger."

Planners on the project used a number of different methods to incorporate flood resiliency measures into a stretch of pathway along the Bow River.

All of the flood mitigation, which is designed to protect Calgary from a one-in-200-year flood, is hidden from view, the city said.

It consists of a continuous, 1.39-kilometre-long structure built with steel sheet piles, earthen berms, concrete walls and demountable stop log openings.

"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," said Frank Frigo, manager of environmental management and project sponsor in a statement.

"With the completion of the province's Springbank Reservoir project over the next two years, damage exposure will be reduced by 70 per cent."

Much of the work was completed with millions in investment from the provincial government.

"The Alberta government is committed to building safe and resilient communities," McIver said.

"This project is an excellent example of governments from all levels working together to keep Albertans safe and help our communities meet their priorities."

Calgary suffered approximately $2.6 billion in damages due to the flood, while the province had $5 billion in damage.

The city calls the work "a major milestone" for downtown Calgary.

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