Plans for making Thursday the McIntyre team’s first fully operational day since the floodwaters of the Bow and Elbow rivers devastated downtown Calgary last week were quickly dashed when the main McIntyre Group warehouse became landlocked due to emergency road closures in the pre-dawn hours.
The partial collapse of the Bonnybrook Bridge over the Bow River in Calgary and the resulting derailment of at least one Canadian Pacific rail car carrying petroleum-based product at approximately 3:45 AM local time today led almost immediately to the closing of all roads within about a half mile radius of the bridge. Evacuation orders also went into effect.
“We’re all relieved, of course, that the bridge failure and train derailment appear to be having only a passing impact on the general population,” Dean McIntyre said. “That being said, the inability to operate today was a big disappointment for our general manager, Jerry O’Brien, and his team. We want to assure our customers in Calgary that McIntyre Group is poised to get back on their projects once we have safe and free access to the downtown core.”
The road closings isolated the McIntyre Group warehouse, which is located about a mile from Bonnybrook Bridge. The earliest arriving members of the McIntyre staff were unable to leave and perform work outside the immediate area. The rest of the staff, including General Manager Jerry O’Brien, were completely blocked in their efforts to get to the warehouse. Most of the road closings are still in effect as of this post.
The latest reports we’ve seen out of Calgary indicate that the roadways in the affected area will not reopen for at least some hours yet. Recovery teams organized by Canadian Pacific are working to pump out the several rail cars that were full of what was thought to be diesel fuel or a similar petroleum product and transfer the product to liquid rail carriers being moved into position on an adjacent railroad span. Once the affected cars are relieved of their potentially hazardous cargo, CP and Calgary officials will determine the next steps in removing all the rail cars from Bonnybrook Bridge and assessing the bridge damage.
Structural members at the bridge’s main failure point sunk toward the flood-swollen waters of the Bow River over the course of the day, coming to an apparent rest at what one Calgary official estimated to be a foot above the water’s surface.
McIntyre Group’s Calgary staff resumed operation in limited fashion starting Tuesday, just four days after severe flooding hit Calgary and continued south through Alberta province. Staff members who were able to reach the main McIntyre warehouse to begin their work day were being dispatched from the warehouse to support clients on an as needed basis. Other staff members responded to dispatch from their homes.
Today was to have been the first day of essentially normal operations for McIntyre Group in Calgary. Power has been restored to 90% or more of the downtown core and a number of clients are sufficiently recovered from the effects of last week’s flood disaster to request the resumption of McIntyre’s services.
The photo of Bonnybrook Bridge used in this post was taken by the Transportation Safety Board.