Donny Woodcox of Downer Contracting walks along a pile of boulders that have been moved into the Red Deer River at Great Chief Park. A temporary bridge is being installed to facilitate work to prevent further erosion of the riverbank across from Great Chief Park and the Red Deer Golf and Country Club. During the construction pedestrians will have access to the trails in the area.

City crews stabilizing river bank

A city neighbourhood is getting a life preserver.

A city neighbourhood is getting a life preserver.

Crews have started a project to stabilize the south bank of the Red Deer River between Heritage Ranch and Riverview Park.

Council approved roughly $8 million for the project in the 2015 and 2016 capital budgets.

But the project costs are coming in lower than expected, said Elaine Vincent, Director of Development Services.

“We are only anticipating to spend $5 (million) resulting in approximately a $3 million surplus,” she said.

At this point in time the city has not received any grant funding for this project.

Between 150 mm to 650 mm of slope along the riverbank in the Riverview Park residential area disappears into the river annually, according to a 2012 geotechnical report. The city annexed the community in 2009 and inherited the eroding riverbank.

A couple years ago the city had purchased and demolished two homes that were at immediate risk of sinking into the river. The project involves placing rip-rap (large rock) along the eroded bank to increase stability and to protect against further erosion. The rip-rap is currently stock-piled in a parking lot in Great Chief Park.

This week crews will construct a river crossing from Little Chief Park to access the south bank of the Red Deer River where the erosion protection work is required.

The work will continue until mid-May 2016. During this time the west parking lot at Great Chief Park and the parking lot near the boat launch in Little Chief Park will be closed.

Parking is still available in Great Chief Park. Flaggers will be on Fountain Drive directing single-lane alternating traffic as Fountain Drive and people accessing amenities off Fountain Drive are asked to allow for an extra couple of minutes as there will be short delays.

Council moved the project up two years in the capital plan in 2015.

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