June 13, 2014 6:45 pm

Cost of flood mitigation tunnel soars to nearly $500M

CALGARY- As the city heeds calls to protect Calgary against another devastating flood, there are concerns about exactly how much that mitigation will cost.

In a 62 page report released late Thursday, an expert panel looked at options to divert flood waters, including a tunnel that could be built under Heritage Drive. The five kilometre long tunnel would be underground, and stretch from the Glenmore Reservoir to the Bow River in hopes of moving water away from downtown.

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Problem is, the cost of the $250 million project has already ballooned to nearly $500 million.

“I know that people are talking about spending money on the tunnel or on LRT tracks or a new interchange, but the reality is if the downtown core gets wet by 30 per cent more than what happened in 2013, nobody is going to be riding the LRT to work,” says Emma May from Calgary River Communities.

The province, which would pay for the project, is still looking at the feasibility of the tunnel, and no decision has been made yet about its future.

“Large projects will be years in the making,” explains Wolf Keller from the City of Calgary’s expert panel. “Three to five years or more, a lot of these have outside interests or property owners, First Nations, environmental regulations…these are all complicated projects.”

The panel also recommended two other prevention project, including an off-stream storage site near Springbank and a dry dam in McLean Creek.

CLICK HERE to see the complete River Flood Mitigation Panel report.

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