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Akamina Parkway cleanup

Wednesday, 21 August 2013. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Akamina Parkway cleanup

Akamina Parkway Cleanup

By Brad Quarin

An important road with a beautiful view, Akamina Parkway at Waterton Lakes National Park, was hit hard by the June floods and efforts are underway to restore it.

“We’ve hired experienced contractors,” says Doreen McGillis, Waterton’s external relations manager. It’s a big job, intended not only to reconstruct the road, but to make sure it can hold out against future floods.

Akamina Parkway is 16 kilometres long and one of Waterton’s two most scenic parkways, along with Red Rock Parkway, Doreen says. It provides a great chance to see wildlife, and leads to Cameron Lake and lots of hiking routes. The road is built on a mountain slope.

On June 19, according to Parks Canada, Waterton “received over 200 millimetres of rain in less than 24 hours, twice the amount which normally triggers a flood watch.”

The flooding damaged the parkway in eight different areas. Damage included debris over the road, washouts of certain spots, and undercutting. The largest washout, at the 3.65-kilometre mark, presents one of the biggest challenges in rebuilding the parkway, she says. The sheer volume of debris is what affected Akamina Parkway so severely.

The road needs quite a bit of work, including new retaining walls and a new guard rail. Some progress has been made, as the debris has been cleared and washed-out parts of the road have been filled in. Drainage channels have also been rerouted to make work on the parkway easier, Doreen says.

The federal government has stepped in with emergency funding to cover the engineering and reconstruction. However, that reconstruction has yet to begin, and potential solutions are still being drawn up. The park has turned to road contractors who’ve worked in national parks before.

Because planning is still going on, it’s not known when the repairs will be finished, but the road is closed for the summer, Doreen says.

To help prevent clogged traffic, the park suggests leaving your vehicle in Waterton village or at your campsite, and using the new, free shuttle service to visit other parts of the park.

While Cameron Lake is inaccessible, the park’s boat rental service is still running on weekends and holidays, now at Linnet Lake.

Red Rock Parkway, which was also damaged in the June floods, has been cleaned and reopened. More rain in early August damaged a bridge on Red Rock Creek, but the other bridges there are still in use.

Photos courtesy of Parks Canada.

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From the August 14, 2013 print edition of Shootin’ the Breeze. Browse through this week’s online edition by clicking the link above and remember to support the advertisers who bring you the Breeze each week!

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