The south bank trail running between the Red Deer River and the city’s water treatment plant has reopened after closing nearly two years ago.
A portion of the path was closed in July 2009 to accommodate the construction of a new water intake to increase the capacity of the plant located on the west side of downtown.
Users were diverted to the opposite riverbank by crossing Taylor Drive or the pedestrian bridge downstream on the former CPR Truss Bridge during the closure.
“It’s been a long time closed and it’s nice to have it open,” said Gord Ludtke, environmental planning engineer with the city.
“But there’s still — and this is a big thing — there’s still going to be some work on it. We still have to do some landscaping and a few things.”
A tender will be sent out later this month for landscape work that will include planting trees and shrubs, regrassing certain areas as well as installing park benches and some interpretive signs.
Short-term closures may be necessary to finish the landscape work that Ludtke anticipates will be completed no later than early fall.
He urged all users to remain cautious while using the new section of the trail as there are now slightly sharper bends along the path.
The old intake had a maximum capacity of 90 megalitres per day, which Ludtke said is enough to fill roughly 60 swimming pools the size of the outdoor pool at the Rec Centre.
The new intake has added 180 megalitres to that capacity.
The regional line serves the growing demands of residents in Red Deer, Blackfalds, Lacombe, Ponoka and some in Red Deer County.
A screen building that will prevent aquatic life from being sucked into the plant, security fencing and a guardrail were also completed in the construction project.
Ludtke noted the trail has opened in time for the Woody’s RV World Marathon and Half Marathon, which will take place on May 22.
The annual race was rerouted last year but will return to its usual course along the south bank trail this year.