The Town of Golden continues to monitor the ice jam that has occurred on the Kicking Horse river, as temperatures plunged over the last two weeks.
Ice jams occur when floating river ice accumulates at a natural or man-made feature that impedes the progress of the ice downstream with the river current. Ice jams can significantly reduce the flow of a river and cause upstream flooding.
Ice jam floods are less predictable and potentially more destructive than open-water flooding and can produce much deeper and faster flooding.
On Monday, Jan. 3, two excavators worked the river in different locations in an effort to locate ice blockages and increase water flow between the Highway 95 bridge and the leading edge of the ice jam.
An excavation along Kicking Horse Trail revealed a substantial flow, indicating that the water moving along the edge of the new floodwall was successfully making its way to the Columbia, according to the Town of Golden.
Excavation at the endpoint of the secondary channel revealed large and deep pooling with very little flow, although it appears water is moving in a limited amount along the south bank. Both excavators were redeployed to the south bank and downstream from the pedestrian bridge until dark.
On Tuesday, Jan. 4, crews will used excavators to carve out a trough, working upstream to the secondary channel with a goal to eventually reach a point where water will find its way there and lower the level in the secondary channel.
The excavators are limited by the length of their reach as it is too dangerous to mobilize equipment over the ice and by the dike itself, which in some areas prevents suitable access to the river. A third excavator, with a longer reach, was deployed to work the ice upstream from the ice jam’s leading edge on the south bank near Riverglen.
While the current ice jam remains securely locked in place on the Kicking Horse River, water and ice levels have risen as the river struggles to make its way through the ice to the Columbia. As of 9 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2, the Town says that the river appears to have stabilized.
Provincial authorities and Town staff are on-site and monitoring the situation.
Residents are reminded of the instability of an ice jam and the dangers it presents.
The Town has taken several precautionary measures, such as placing sandbags on Gould’s Island and along the floodwall towards the Highway 95 bridge.
The Town says that the new floodwalls that were built as a part of the Riverwalk and the Kicking Horse Dike Project is functioning well to protect the downtown core.
The Province will be placing an excavator on stand-by near the Highway 95 bridge, should it be needed.
Key fire department apparatus has been relocated to the north side of the river.
Minor pooling has occurred in some areas in town.
Updates can be found on the Town’s Facebook page.