East Coulee residents were invited to join members of the Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) for a walkthrough event on Tuesday evening, June 14, to walk the proposed construction footprint for the East Coulee berm and learn more about flood mitigation plans for the community.
About 30 people attended the walkthrough and received handouts with information regarding planned construction of the project, and also had the chance to speak with members of the flood mitigation team and ask questions about potential impacts of construction vibration and whether any trees will be removed from the area.
Construction of the East Coulee berm will be broken down into two phases, with construction of the first phase anticipated to begin in July of this year.
Depending on weather conditions and other factors, such as water levels of the Red Deer River, it is expected phase one construction will wrap up by the end of November 2023.
This portion of the project will see the existing berm raised to meet the 1,850 cubic metre per second (cms) designed flow rate set out by the province and widen the berm footprint to meet the four metre top width. To achieve this, it will be necessary to remove topsoil, vegetation and the existing asphalt pathway and jersey barriers prior to new earth fill material being brought in to build up this section of the berm.
River Drive, which runs the length of the community parallel to the river, will also be raised, and upgrades to stormwater infrastructure will be completed where needed.
This will involve removing some vegetation, such as trees and shrubs, from the existing berm. These will be replaced at a ratio of five new trees or shrubs planted around the community for every tree or shrub which is removed. A handout listing the trees and shrubs suitable for the area was also provided to attendees.
Phase two construction is then anticipated to begin in spring 2024 and be completed by the fall; it is expected riprap replacement on the completed phase one project will also be completed during this time, though this will depend on regulatory approvals.
Pre-construction home inspections have been offered to residents to help document current conditions and better identify any potential changes that may occur over the course of construction.
The Town will also implement vibration monitoring measures to assess and control vibration from heavy equipment and earth moving during the construction process. As the community relies on groundwater wells, the Town will also conduct testing prior to construction and evaluate any impacts following construction. Residents with concerns about vibration monitoring or groundwater well testing are encouraged to contact the flood mitigation office.
Although there may be some impacts, such as dust and noise, efforts will be made to mitigate these impacts. There will also be increased truck traffic throughout construction, and it was noted haul routes or other mitigations such as speed reductions in certain areas, may be implemented for safe movement of trucks.
By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, DrumhellerMail.com
Original Published on Jun 21, 2023