Memorial Drive reopens to traffic amid looming flood concerns

Drivers can once again access one of Calgary’s busiest roadways after construction crews divided the massive berm along Memorial Drive.

One lane is open in both directions for the first time since Monday night, but city officials say the berm can be quickly reconstructed if necessary.

The project’s initial construction cost the city $115,000, and the flood barrier is expected to remain in place until at least Sunday or Monday.

There is a weather system to the west that the city is keeping a close eye on that could potentially bring up to 100 millimetres of rain to the area by early next week.

“The forecast at this point in time is between 50 and 100 millimetres of rain, and if we take a look at a midpoint at this point in time just as an indicator of 70 millimetres of rain, that will result in an event that would see flows within the Bow River peaking at around 1200 cubic meters per second,” said Francois Bouchart, director of water resources with the City of Calgary.

“I do want to stress that the risk is there, and therefore we’re taking every precaution possible to ensure that we remain prepared and responsive to the events that we’re seeing. That means that you will see many of our measures remain in place, including the pumps, and we’ll be ready to close outfalls if the event starts to materialize.”

Bouchart added that, according to some modelling done by the city, there is a chance the upcoming weather system could move further north before making its way east toward Calgary.

In that case, the brunt of the rain would skip the city altogether.

Calgarians can visit the City of Calgary – Floods for all local flood-related updates and to sign up for emergency notifications.

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