Canadian Consulting Engineer

Firms announced for final design on Winnipeg Floodway

June 17, 2005
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The massive, $665-million project to double the capacity of the Manitoba Floodway around Winnipeg is quickly moving...

The massive, $665-million project to double the capacity of the Manitoba Floodway around Winnipeg is quickly moving ahead. On May 20, the Manitoba Floodway Authority announced the release of a federal government environmental screening report on the expansion project. The project will improve flood protection around the city to a 1-in-700 year level of protection by diverting more water around Winnipeg. In the spring of 1997 the city was almost engulfed by rising water levels from the Red River.
The Federal Screening Report concluded that with some additional mitigation measures, the floodway expansion project “is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.”
Earlier, in April, the Floodway Authority announced that two consortia of Manitoba engineering firms would be doing the final design for the expansion — work that amounts to $27 million in design fees.
KGS Group, Acres, SNC-Lavalin, UMA, Wardrop, Earth Tech, Barnes & Duncan and First Canadian Engineers together make up the consortium chosen to design the Main Floodway Channel, Structures and West Dyke. Their contract includes widening the existing channel, modifications to eight drainage structures, relocating the city of Winnipeg’s aqueduct and improvements to the Floodway Inlet Control Structure. They will also be designing an expansion of the Outlet structure into the Red River, extending and raising the West Dyke, and doing work to mitigate the project’s environmental and socio-economic impacts.
A second consortium is in charge of designing the Bridges and Transportation component. Dillon, Earth Tech, NDLea, UMA, Wardrop, Barnes & Duncan and First Canadian Engineers are together doing the engineering for elements such as replacing six highway bridges over the Floodway, replacing and rehabilitating railway bridges and designing the channel excavation within 200 metres of the crossings.
The decision to expand the existing Floodway was made two years ago following extensive debate and expert reviews. Instead of deepening the 48-kilometre channel to increase its capacity, it will be widened. Locals had feared that deepening the channel would affect groundwater levels. The other option for raising the protection level for Winnipeg had been to create a new dam to hold back the waters near Ste. Agathe on the Red River 30 kilometres south of Winnipeg. That option was rejected in 2003.
Steve Ashton, Manitoba’s Minister of Water Stewardship praised local engineering firms when he made the announcement of the successful engineering firms this April: “Manitoba is blessed with a world-class engineering community and we are very pleased that these firms have joined together to build on the expertise and experience of each firm.”
One of the firms involved — First Canadian Engineers — is operated by Tribal Councils Investment Group of Manitoba, which represents 55 Manitoba First Nations communities. “Under the terms of the contract, the Floodway Authority will ensure that Aboriginal people have a meaningful role on a variety of aspects of the engineering process,” said Ashton.
See Canadian Consulting Engineer, June-July 2003, for a full description of the expansion project.


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