Written by: Elizabeth Wren, Halton Children’s Festival and Volunteer Coordinator
King Road Aqueduct, Burlington Ontario
Ancient Romans relied on aqueducts to transport water from the mountains into the dry plains where the cities resided. The water was easily accessible to residents for bathing, and drinking. Since the water was so easy to use, the aqueducts greatly improved the quality of life for the citizens.
What many of us don’t realize is that aqueducts are not only ancient engineering feats, but also have a continued (if altered) presence in modern day projects.
The City of Burlington hosted the opening of the King Road Bridge in December, 2013. The King Road Bridge included a modern day aqueduct. Why do we need this aqueduct when the lake provides all of the water we require for our daily activities? The answers lies in the purpose of the aqueduct.
Two focuses of Conservation Halton’s maintenance, and protection, of environmental integrity. The King Road aqueduct manages to do both. Because the Indian Creek tributary runs parallel to the CN tracks at the King Road crossing, our ecologists and engineers–in conjunction with City of Burlington staff, CN, and their respective consulting teams (AMEC, Hatch Mott Macdonald, Parish Geomorphic, Sefarian Design)–agreed it was preferable to keep the creek in its existing location despite the road reconstruction (re-building the road under the tracks).
The natural path of the creek has been due to development; this project provided an opportunity to allow a natural, meandering creek that crosses over the new bridge, and flow back into the main branch of Indian Creek. Sediment filters and large stones providing resting areas for fish are incorporated into this steel structure.
Indian Creek is a great example of how water flows through our watershed and connects everyone. Indian Creek begins on the Niagara Escarpment, flowing in a natural state through the heart of Burlington, before emptying into Hamilton Harbour. The creek protects the fish and improves the quality of water flowing into Lake Ontario–the source of our drinking water.
Because this creek flows through developed lands like the CN railways and Burlington neighbourhoods before emptying into the harbour, the community has the opportunity to practice good stewardship, together, to protect the creek by filtering waste and contaminants.
Conservation Halton and the City of Burlington have taken the first steps in maintaining important fish habitat, now it’s up to us to work together as a community as guardians of the creek!