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Innovative Calgary road project reaches finish line

Russell Hixson
Innovative Calgary road project reaches finish line
CITY OF CALGARY — Crews pour concrete on Crowchild Trail to add capacity to its Bow River crossing in Calgary.

Upgrades to Calgary’s Crowchild Trail have wrapped up.

The project used innovative techniques to keep drivers moving through the area during construction and to ensure the project was environmentally friendly.

The $87 million project included adding new lanes, relocating ramps and upgrading the pathway network. The project team also spent time rehabilitating and retrofitting bridges that span the Bow River, CP Railway and LRT tracks, other major roadways, pathways and sensitive habitats.

To keep traffic moving, the team built temporary platforms directly below the bridges so the more than 100,000 cars that use the route each day could pass through.

“Overcoming these challenges required installing access platforms to avoid impacting the river, train tracks and intersecting roads below — essentially building bridges under the existing bridges – numerous traffic realignments and working 24 hours a day, year-round, including through some of the harshest winters in recent memory,” said Jeff Baird, senior transportation engineer with the City of Calgary.

The team also cut down on waste by completely rehabbing and widening existing bridges built in the 1960s rather that demolishing them for brand new ones. The city noted building new bridges would have had significantly more impacts on traffic as well as the project’s budget.

This construction season, small teams will continue to do finishing touches, like noise wall construction and clean up.

According to the city, it is one of only a handful of projects of this complexity that has been done in North America. Construction started in fall 2017 and the short-term improvements phase of the overarching project are now mostly complete.

“The project provides several benefits, including added traffic capacity along the corridor, in particular over the Bow River, relocated access ramps to improve access onto and off of Crowchild Trail, improved intersections and pathway connections that improve access for all to the highly used Bow River pathway network,” said Baird.

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