Beaver Dam Flats ArmorFlex Pathway Reconstruction - Case Study
ArmorFlex provides a low-disturbance, efficient and flexible solution to a flood-damaged trail.
A trail system path through the Bow River floodplain in Calgary was washed-out during the city’s 2013 flood. The City of Calgary needed to make quick and lasting repairs to maintain this section as part of its larger Regional Pathway Network, an important link for commuters and recreational users.
The project solution had to work with berm repairs from overtopping scouring and the installation of new culverts after the original smaller culverts were washed-out. The project also needed to proceed with as little interruption as possible for trail users.
ArmorFlex is a flexible interlocking matrix of machine-compressed cellular concrete blocks, designed for high-scour and high-flow applications. Each block is a uniform size and is formed with ducts, through which cables run to form connections with other blocks in the matrix. The interlocking block shapes give the system its strength.
The conditions for Beaver Dam Flats were ideal for ArmorFlex. The armoring solution required design for a 1:100-year flood event, including related overtopping scouring, had to cut-around new culverts, had to be installed quickly, and had to be reasonably priced. ArmorFlex met all those criteria and had the added benefit of sustaining vegetation. The vegetation root system also assists in anchoring.
A significant advantage of the ArmorFlex mat design is the ease with which it can be installed using equipment standard to most contractor fleets. For the Beaver Dam Flats application, three installers worked with a backhoe operator, and were able to complete the job in under four days. The site required 200m2 of ArmorFlex, which was applied to the berm that the trail runs across. The berm has three flared-end concrete culverts running through it. These were easy to accommodate in the design, as was protection for the back of the berm, to avoid scouring from any future floodwater overtopping.
The City of Calgary benefitted from a proven hard armoring solution that can withstand 1:100-year flood events and revegetate to suit the trail surroundings. Trail users experienced a very short interruption during the project. ArmorFlex will provide years of maintenance-free service for users of the Beaver Dam Flats trail system. Less maintenance means fewer repair vehicle emissions over time and fewer interruptions for trail users.
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