From 2017 to 2020, the Crowchild Trail has gone through some major upgrades, which were finally completed in Fall of 2020. Skeleton construction crews finishing up the final touch-ups For anyone who doesn’t know, or needs a refresher, the “Crowchild Trail is a vital entry-way to downtown from northwest and southwest Calgary, used by 100,000 vehicles every weekday. But the 60-year-old bridge, with its confusing ramps and narrow lanes, had become a choke-point for commuters. With the upgrades, the eight-lane bridge and realigned ramps move traffic more efficiently.” (Calgary Herald). This section of the project cost approximately $87 million (City of Calgary).

This is a big project to say the least. Here is a list of the current upgrades that have been completed on the project:

Bridges and roadways

  • Completed life cycle rehabilitation and widening of the Memorial Drive, Bow River, and Bow Trail bridges
  • Added a northbound and southbound traffic lane on Crowchild Trail between Memorial Drive and Bow Trail
  • Added a northbound traffic lane on Crowchild Trail between Memorial Drive and 5 Avenue N.W.

On and off ramps

  • From westbound Bow Trail & westbound 10 Avenue S.W. to northbound Crowchild Trail: moved on-ramps to right side of Crowchild Trail
  • From northbound Crowchild Trail to eastbound Bow Trail: added a merge lane to the off-ramp
  • From northbound Crowchild Trail to eastbound Memorial Drive: moved the off-ramp to the north side of eastbound Memorial Drive

Pathways and crossings

  • Along the east side of Crowchild Trail from Kensington Road along the north side of Memorial Drive: added a pathway, connecting to the pedestrian overpass at 21 Street N.W.
  • Parkdale Boulevard and Kensington Road intersection: added a signalized pedestrian crossing to connect to the Bow River Pathway Network

Medium and long-term plans are still in the works, and will be implemented after 2027; long-term plans are not expected before the next 30 years. Before these plans can take place, the city must acquire private land, and receive funding. According to the City of Calgary, “The next step is to bring the plans forward as a candidate project for the Investing in Mobility Capital Plan.” (City of Calgary). The Investing in Mobility Capital Plan “is a strategic plan that defines the priority and timing of capital transportation infrastructure projects for the next 10 years and helps to inform Council’s capital budget decisions. If it is determined to include the projects within the medium- and long-term plans as part of the Investing in Mobility Capital Plan, the projects will then be prioritized in one of the four infrastructure categories. Projects are prioritized based on key directional and policy documents like the Calgary Transportation Plan and Action Plan. Once prioritized, funding sources will be identified and allocated.”

As part of developing the short, medium, and long term plans, the City of Calgary completed s six-phase study in order to address any concerns relating to the project, and formulate solutions. With input from the citizen’s of the city, the following three goals were created for all three levels of plans for the area:

  • “Maintain and enhance bordering communities”
  • “Improve travel along the corridor”
  • “Improve mobility across the corridor” (City of Calgary)

The City spoke with residents and businesses that live/are located in and around the Crowchild Trail in order to gain feedback. This information was used to impact the technical work and any decisions needed for the three phases of the project. If you would like to see a summary of these discussions and the outcomes you can visit this page on the Government of Calgary’s website.

The cost of the medium-term project is estimated to be approximately $1.3 billion (Class 4 estimate range in 2016 dollars), while the long-term estimate is approximately $250 million (Class 4 estimate range in 2016 dollars). (City of Calgary). Each cost estimate includes all recommendations. These include things such as infrastructure, walking/cycling connections, noise attenuation, green spaces, transportation measures, transit, and land acquisition. (City of Calgary) 

If you would like to learn more about the Crowchild Trail upgrades, visit the City of Calgary website. There you can also refer to maps and before and after photos relating to the project.

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