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Southwest Calgary residents ‘shocked’ by weekend ring road construction

Southwest Calgary residents shocked by weekend ring road construction
People living in the southwest Calgary community of Woodbine were surprised to see construction crews tearing up a green space just beyond their backyards on Saturday.

People living on Woodpath Terrace in southwest Calgary were surprised to see excavation equipment digging up the green space just beyond their backyards on Saturday.

The work is part of southwest ring road construction. A new interchange is being built at 37 Street by 130 Avenue.

Woodbine residents living in homes that back onto the green space had meetings with Alberta Transportation and MLA Whitney Issik regarding their concerns last year.

READ MORE: ‘It feels like an earthquake’: Calgary ring road blasting to resume despite residents’ concerns

Residents had signed a petition urging the province to leave the existing natural green space, arguing it acts as a more effective sound barrier than the sound wall that Alberta Transportation has planned.

“We want for them to build a retaining wall and maintain the berm and maintain most of the quality out back in the public green space,” said local resident Brent Way.

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People who signed the petition and met with government officials say construction wasn’t supposed to start until April.

“[The construction] was a shock. They’ve never got back to us, even today when they started ripping out trees and shrubs and everything back there. No one even knocked on the door to say this is what we are going to do today. We are shocked, really. We didn’t expect our own government to treat us this way. It’s upsetting,” Way said.

READ MORE: Calgary man concerned that ring road construction will damage ‘bustling little ecosystem’

Woodbine resident Gary Martin said he has no problem with the ring road construction. He just feels residents’ voices have been ignored.

“It’s the lack of respect that the community has been given here from the Alberta government. It’s not right. They promised they would get back to us and let us know what their plan was and they haven’t done that,” Martin said.

Residents have also raised concerns about the ramp to 130 Avenue coming closer to homes than was originally designed.

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Alberta Transportation said on Saturday that it has heard the community’s concerns.

“Through consultations hosted by MLA Issik, it is clear that the primary concern is around how to mitigate the noise from the road and to ensure there is still access to pathways. Although the construction for the off-ramp has begun, a final decision on a sound mitigation solution has not yet been made,” said Alberta Transportation spokesperson Brooklyn Elhard.