‘Important milestone’: Preliminary work underway on southwest ring road

WATCH ABOVE: Preliminary work on the southwest leg of the ring road has begun, with vegetation clearance and the relocation of utilities. As David Boushy reports, full construction with heavy equipment will be starting in September, nearly 70 years after the road was first proposed.

It’s been a long time coming, but nearly 70 years after a southwest ring road was first proposed, work on the project has begun.

For now, it’s preliminary work – to relocate utilities like power lines and remove vegetation.

Several buildings, formerly on the Tsuu T’ina Nation before the province acquired the land, have been removed.

“This is a tremendous milestone in this overall project,” Garry Lamb with Alberta Transportation said. “I’ve been involved with this project since 2005, and so, for us to finally get to the point – where we’re going to be building the southwest section of the ring road, including crossing the former Tsuu T’ina Nation lands, is a real important milestone for us on this project.”

A final agreement to start building the ring road is expected be signed by this September, when full construction will begin.

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Calgary’s mayor suggests traffic disruption will be minimal.

“I live just off of the East Stoney Trail and you barely noticed the construction because it was just outside of where people were normally going, so traffic headaches should actually not be awful,” Naheed Nenshi said.

It’s anticipated the section through former Tsuu T’ina land will be built first.

Once completed, the project will include 31 kilometers of six and eight lane divided highway, 14 interchanges and three river crossings.  It’s being funded through a public-private partnership.

-With files from David Boushy