The $2-million stabilization of an aging tunnel that allows Red Deer trail users to pass under 32nd Street is now underway.
Since that pedestrian tunnel south of Kin Kanyon is closed, cyclists and other trail users are being asked to temporarily detour onto 32nd Street.
Lee Birn, engineer planning superintendent for the City of Red Deer, said city workers had noticed one of four retaining walls around the pedestrian underpass had shifted out of position.
Since these concrete forms were first installed in 1962, he said, it was time for a “rehabilitation project of the existing concrete structure.”
The goal is to replace the one shifted retaining wall on the northeast side, better anchor the other three retaining walls to the embankment, and make them all more aesthetically pleasing with the addition of new architectural details.
Birn said workers are also planning to eliminate the 90-degree turns that connect the trails with the tunnel as cyclists have a hard time navigating such “abrupt” corners. “We want to make them smoother for the users of the underpass.”
By angling the retaining walls back a bit, the turns can be reconfigured to a 45-degree angle instead, he added.
The tunnel’s interior wall, meanwhile, will be sand-blasted and repainted with an anti-graffiti coating that should be less adhesive to spray paint — or at least make it easier to remove, said Birn.
Some additional landscape plantings will be done.
Birn said the project is being done by contractors, with an expected completion date of late October.