Flooded Waterfront Trail to reopen next week after 4-month closure

Hamilton city officials say they expect to reopen the flooded Waterfront Trail next week after nearly a four-month closure.
The city said Wednesday it expects to reopen the Waterfront Trail next week. (Jessica Palumbo/CBC)

Hamilton city officials say they expect to reopen the flooded Waterfront Trail next week after nearly a four-month closure.

The beloved trail's closure April 30 created a headache for bicycle commuters and recreational trail users. The trail is used by nearly 13,000 people every week and summer is its most popular season.

The city estimated in May that it would cost millions of dollars to repair the damage done by two major floods in April and May — including repairing and repaving parts of the Waterfront Trail.

Wednesday, the city announced that the trail is still damaged but can reopen some time next week. Crews on Wednesday were installing 550 metres of fencing to block erosion on the side of the asphalt, and they planned to install new warning signs about the narrowed path and other potential hazards.

"Water levels, while still extremely high for this time of year, have subsided enough for crews to inspect the damage and remove debris from the trail," a city press release said.

The city sent along thanks for the patience of those who've gone without using the trail for four months, and said it is working with shoreline erosion experts to figure out the long-term repairs needed to the trail. 

On April 20, a full month of rain fell on Dundas in particular, when basements and businesses flooded. Hamilton usually gets 73 mm in April, Environment Canada says. In one day, 72.4 mm fell at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Then in early May, another rain storm partially flooded streets near Hamilton's waterfront. The ground was already saturated from the previous rainfall, the city said. Hamilton saw 82 millimetres of rain in the first week of May, which is more than the monthly average of 80 millimetres Environment Canada said.