April 27, 2017 9:39 am
Updated: April 27, 2017 6:32 pm

Path of Elbow River now changing for Southwest Calgary Ring Road construction

WATCH ABOVE: The Calgary ring road project is forcing the province to divert both the Elbow River and Fish Creek in order to build the six and eight lane divided highway. Doug Vaessen has more on what environmentalists say when it comes to bio-engineering a new highway.

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Big changes are underway at the Elbow River as construction on the Southwest Calgary Ring Road continues.

The province is using state of the art bio-engineering to alter the course of the river in the Weaselhead Natural Area/Glenmore Park to make way for three bridges. When it’s completed, the path of the Elbow River will be moved up to 1.3 kilometres.

The changes are causing concern for some environmentalists.

READ MORE: Southwest ring road plans include diverting Elbow River


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“They are diverting the river by one kilometre and that is going to upset the ecosystem that has evolved there over the years,” Paul Finkleman, president of the Weaselhead Preservation Society, said. “When you’re diverting a full kilometre of the Elbow River, we don’t know exactly how that’s going to affect the fish habitat and the wildlife habitat in the surrounding area.”

“Another real point of contention is the noise factor,” he added. “The construction for the next couple of years with the big machinery is going to be devastating.”

“The whole Weaselhead is going to be negatively impacted.”

The province, however, argues they are taking extreme measures to protect the surrounding wildlife.

“In order to minimalize impact of the fish and fish habitat and wildlife, we have retained specialists,” Rizwan Hussain, urban construction manager at Alberta Transportation, said. “They are making sure that we are not impacting fish or wildlife.”

“We’re not working through the nighttime, to minimize the impact on fish and wildlife.”

Hussain said the alterations may actually improve the river’s stability in the event of a flood.

With files from Doug Vaessen

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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