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Valve pipe at Elizabeth Lake to relieve flooding concerns

Contractors worked to lay a 12-inch pipe under Wattsville Road on Monday, which is meant to help with Elizabeth Lake drainage issues. Pictured at top, the water from the lake flooded into the ditch and through the pipe, murky with mud. At bottom, the muddy water drains on the other side of Wattsville Road.  - Arne Petryshen photo
Contractors worked to lay a 12-inch pipe under Wattsville Road on Monday, which is meant to help with Elizabeth Lake drainage issues. Pictured at top, the water from the lake flooded into the ditch and through the pipe, murky with mud. At bottom, the muddy water drains on the other side of Wattsville Road.
— image credit: Arne Petryshen photo

After setting up a successful series of siphon hoses across Wattsville Road last week, the City of Cranbrook followed up with a more permanent solution — a 12-inch wide pipe that now runs under the street, bringing water under the road and into a drainage creek.

On Monday, contractors for the city were at work on Wattsville Road, which borders a northern section of Elizabeth Lake, digging a ditch across the roadway. The workers were laying the blue pipe which now sits below the road and provides a direct exit for lake water to get to the creek.

The pipe also has a shutoff valve that can be accessed from street level, so that drainage can be controlled to prevent downstream flooding issues as well as to regulate the flow of water.

A number of locals came out to watch the process of the project, which involved an excavator to dig the ditch, flatten out the bottom of the ditch and then drop the pipe in. Workers then fit the pipe and made sure it was level, before  burying it and tamping the dirt down with machinery.

The moment that everyone there was anxiously awaiting was the moment when the  last wall of dirt — a sort of dirt weir between the ditch and the lake — was removed, and the lake water gushed in. The pipe was right away inundated with water, mud and dirt, as workers tried to clear the debris from in front of the grate on the pipe as fast as possible.

Workers at the project site said that once Elizabeth Lake's water level drops, there will be additional work done to the pipe that couldn't be done as the water levels are too high.

The city said that once the road is cleared, traffic will once again be able to pass through that section of Wattsville Road. The road has been closed off and on for the past few months as the city dealt with the high water in the lake through water pumps, and then recently, the siphon hoses.

The city has also authorized Urban Systems to conduct a study on the Elizabeth Lake water issues and downstream drainage issues.

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