The Impact of the 2013 Flood in Kananaskis
Important Note: The Elbow Valley bridge on Hwy 66 near Allen Bill opened a single lane, traffic light controlled bridge on Aug 2. just in time for the Heritage Day holiday weekend. That was the first time most people had to get in and see what damage had been done during the Flood of June 20-23.
The Elbow Valley, with about 1/2-million visitors per year, is the most popular recreation area in Alberta. When those people couldn't access the trails, campgrounds, waterways and outdoor experiences they are accustomed to - that was a serious issue. Elbow Falls alone is always a popular destination and you couldn't get there as of June 20. Due to a washout, the access to the bridge spanning the Elbow River on Highway 66 near Allen Bill Pond, you couldn't get beyond the turnoff to McLean Creek. All trails, including the Powderface Trail Road, the trailheads, recreation areas, campgrounds and Kananskis Country facilities were closed. Volker Stevin built a temporary bridge alongside the broken bridge. The abutment at the east (Bragg Creek) end of the main bridge has been seriously damaged. Repairing that and finding a solution to deal with the flow of the river will be challenging, but Alberta Transportation plans to have the bridge repaired before winter.
Now that the bridge is open we can get in to see the damage done the two most popular attractions in the valley, Allen Bill and Elbow Falss have been seriously wrecked. Fixing them may be impossible, at least extremely difficult and expensive.
The bridge was completely repaired and opened to the public in the spring of 2014
Bragg Creek Provincial Park is open, but you can't get there through the hamlet. You have to travel west on Highway 66 for a couple of kilometres then turn right on Highway 758. There are picnic areas and outdoor toilets. Repair work on highway 758 was finished in mid September, 2013.
NOTE: The West Bragg Creek bridge to the Recreation Area was reopened on Thursday evening, July 11, 3013
This map shows the location of the facilities along Hwy66 in the Elbow River Valley
Links of interest:
Flood Damage Photo Map
Map of Kananaskis Closed Areas (including highways)
What's Open and Closed in Bragg Creek
Elbow Valley Bridge photo gallery
Damage done in West Bragg Creek - Photo Gallery
A short video showing the footbridge over Bragg Creek in the West Bragg Creek Recreation Area of Kananaskis during the flood of 2013