The pathway that runs along the top of Calgary's Glenmore Dam reopened on Friday as city officials marked the completion of a three-year, $81-million upgrade project designed to enhance flood protection and boost drinking water storage capacity.
Work on the dam included rehabilitating the 87-year-old structure, adding new intermediate piers, a weir crest extension and replacing the wooden stop log system with higher steel gates with independent hoists to raise and lower the gates.
Crews also widened the bridge deck to allow for dedicated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians.
"The bridge deck across the dam is a critical link in the pathway system, and with the reopening it allows pathway users to circle the entire reservoir and enjoy spectacular views of Calgary's landscape" the city said in a release.
The 21 steel gates allow for an extra 10 billion litres in storage for greater flood protection along the Elbow River, the city says.
At times when the Elbow River is low and slow, the gates allow the city to double the amount of water it stores in the reservoir.
"By adding 10 billion additional litres of capacity, we have doubled the protection offered by the Glenmore reservoir, and that is reason for celebration," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
"The next step is the approval and construction of the Springbank Reservoir, and we will continue to provide whatever support is necessary to the province to ensure it is completed."
The $81-million project was a collaboration between the city and the province, with $7.6 million coming from the Alberta Community Resilience Program.
The Glenmore Water Treatment Plant and the Glenmore Dam — and the resulting Glenmore reservoir — were built in 1933 to improve the supply of drinking water for the growing city.
Today, the treatment plant is one of two that supplies over 1.3 million Calgarians and surrounding communities with drinking water.