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Famous Winnipeggers and Things

Red River Floodway

Red River Floodway

On July 4, 2008, the International Association of Macro Engineering Societies (IAMES) officially recognized the floodway as one of the 16 engineering achievements that shaped the world since biblical times to the present. The prestigious Boston-based organization has been monitoring the floodway and the expansion project for many years.

They stated that the floodway ranks in engineering significance with projects like the Three Gorges Dam in China, the Eiffel Tower, the Channel Tunnel and accomplishments like landing the first man on the moon.

The Red River Floodway is an artificial flood control waterway in Western Canada, first used in 1969. It is a 47 km (29 mile) long channel which, during flood periods, diverts part of the Red River's flow around the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba to the east and discharges it back into the Red River below the dam at Lockport. It can carry floodwater at a rate of up to 2,550 cubic metres (91,700 cubic feet) per second. It was built partly in response to the disastrous 1950 Red River flood.

The Floodway was pejoratively nicknamed "Duff's Ditch" by opponents of its construction, after Premier Duff Roblin, whose Progressive Conservative government initiated the project. It was completed in time and under budget. Subsequent events have vindicated the plan. Used over 20 times in the 37 years from its completion to 2006, the Floodway has saved an estimated $10 billion (CAD) in flood damages. The "Duff's Ditch" term is still used affectionately.

Construction of the Floodway started on October 6, 1962 and finished in March 1968, was a major undertaking with 76.5 million cubic metres (2.75 billion cubic feet) of earth excavated-more than what was moved for the Suez Canal. At the time, this was the largest land moving project in the world.

Because the 1997 Flood Of The Century took the floodway to the limits of its capacity, the government decided to increase it's flood protection for the City of Winnipeg. Beginning in 2005 modifications to existing rail, road crossings, transmission line spans, inlet control structures and fire protection, were undertaken by elevating and the widening the existing dikes of the entire floodway channel.