Crowchild Trail improvement project approved by Calgary council

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WATCH: Calgary city council gave final approval Monday to a plan to improve Crowchild Trail from 17 Avenue southwest, north to the University of Calgary. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, work will start on widening the bridge over the Bow River this fall – May 8, 2017

The City of Calgary has approved a $1.5-billion plan which would see improvements made on Crowchild Trail from 24 Avenue northwest to 17 Avenue southwest.

The first phase of the work involves the addition of new ramps and adding a lane in both directions over the Bow River.

READ MORE: $1.5B Crowchild Trail upgrade given green light by transportation committee

“This the culmination of years of work with communities, with members of the public and with our administration to come up with a plan that tries to achieve a whole bunch of things,” said councillor Druh Farrell.

“It eases congestion and it looks at land more wisely. The purchase of land will be more prudent and how many properties we need to purchase.”

Preliminary work on widening the bridge is set to get underway in October, but the bulk of the bridge widening should start in the spring of 2018 and will go on until the end of 2019. A contractor has yet to be selected.

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READ MORE: City of Calgary releases design concepts for Crowchild Trail redevelopment

This summer the city is expected to release more details on how traffic will be affected during the bridge overhaul.

The long-term parts of the project include new interchanges and a tunnel, but so far the only part of the plan that has been funded is the work on the bridge over the Bow River.

“With the other projects along Crowchild Trail, it will be in competition with all of our other transportation projects. So in my view, the Green Line is top priority. So we will have to compare this with all of our other long list of projects,” said Farrell.

The first phase of the work which includes the bridge expansion and new ramps is expected to cost around $90 million. It remains to be seen how the rest of the project will be funded.

READ MORE: Calgarians voice opinions at open house for Crowchild Trail changes

“How we fund it, and when we fund it I guess, is the question that we will have to grapple with in the budget debate,” said Councillor Andre Chabot.

“But I think the solutions that are being proposed a really good solutions for everyone actually.”

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The entire project could take decades to complete.

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