Ice washes out, cleanup begins

City staff were busy cleaning up 54th Avenue on Monday after an ice jam on the Red Deer River caused flooding that left a layer of silt along the roadway.

City workers Ryan Ekdahl

City staff were busy cleaning up 54th Avenue on Monday after an ice jam on the Red Deer River caused flooding that left a layer of silt along the roadway.

City staff shovelled gravel and mud into a pile to be vacuumed up by a HydroVac and sprayed the roadway with a high-powered sprayer to remove the last of the debris.

A jumble of ice stretched along the river from Lions Campground to well past the old CPR walking bridge from Saturday evening into Sunday afternoon.

D.J. Brough, the on-call person this weekend for the City of Red Deer’s Environmental Services Department, was watching at 3:25 p.m. on Sunday when the ice floe began to move. He said at first the ice started to shift and within 15 seconds it was starting to stir.

He said the whole 1.2- to 1.8-metre-high wall of ice started moving through Red Deer, and not more than 20 minutes after the ice floe began to move, it was past the city.

By 7 p.m. on Sunday night, the flood water had drained away from the low section of 54th Avenue, near the walking bridge.

Brough expected it would take all day Monday to clean up the mess left from the flooding on 54th Avenue.

Lions Campground and trails along the north bank of the river from Bower Ponds to the Lions Campground were closed on Monday. The parking lot of Great West Adventure Park, where the BMX track is, was filled with chunks of ice and ice was still visible along the banks of the river on Monday.

The McKenzie Trail Recreation Area was open on Monday.

Linda Pidhirney, treasurer of the Red Deer BMX board of directors, said the board of directors won’t be able to tell how bad the damage is around the BMX track until they get down there to have a better look. Ice and water prevented them from going down to check on the weekend.

Pidhirney said a utility shed was half underwater and she expects most of the items in the building will be lost. She thinks the track is OK, but they may need to bring in more gravel for the grounds. In 2005, flooding damaged the track so badly that the group had to redo it.

City parks superintendent Trevor Poth said barricades have been up since Saturday evening at Lions Campground and some of trails on that side of the river. He said the city is asking residents to continue to obey the barricades, even though the water has come down, because there will be people working with equipment in those areas during the next few weeks.

He said city staff will probably wait for the ice to melt and then clean up the silt. He expects everything will be cleaned up in the next few weeks.

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