Yellowhead Trail freeway conversion to include new underpasses, road realignment in central Edmonton

The conversion of Yellowhead Trail into a freeway will include several new underpasses and the straightening of the road in the middle of Edmonton, the city revealed on Thursday.

The conversion will allow vehicles to flow freely with the removal of traffic signals, intersections and crossings on the Yellowhead.

The city said it has completed the concept plan for the largest and most technically complex part of the project, which stretches from St. Albert Trail to 97 Street.

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Key features revealed Thursday include:

  • Yellowhead Trail will pass under new interchanges at 127 Street and 115 Street, with the north and southbound lanes being built at the elevation of the existing road
  • Yellowhead Trail will be realigned and straightened to remove the curve between 121 Street and 107 Street, which previously curved around the north edge of the former municipal airport The city said the straightening will accommodate plans for a future Metro Line LRT bridge
  • New service roads to manage traffic flow into residential and business communities
  • Working with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, the project will support the relocation of the aging West Yellowhead Fire Station 8
  • The project does not require the purchase of any residential properties, however the city will need to acquire some commercial land

While the city said a detailed cost estimate will be determined during the design phase, that 4.3-kilometre section is expected to require approximately half of the freeway conversion’s $1-billion budget.

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“The option we selected best meets the goal of providing free-flowing traffic along Yellowhead Trail while offering convenient access to adjacent communities and arterial roadways,” said Kris Lima, director of the Yellowhead Trail freeway conversion program.

Click to play video: 'Metro LRT: Thales deadline and bridge proposed over Yellowhead'
Metro LRT: Thales deadline and bridge proposed over Yellowhead

With the concept plan complete, the city said the project will move into the design phase in this fall, with the initial stage building on the work completed in concept.

As the design progresses, the city said refinement of the plan will take place.

The public is encouraged to continue to provide feedback to ensure the final design balances the goals of the freeway conversion with community, business and commuter needs.

Click to play video: '2021 construction season in Edmonton includes Yellowhead freeway work'
2021 construction season in Edmonton includes Yellowhead freeway work

Construction on Yellowhead Trail from St. Albert Trail to 97 Street is expected to begin in 2023 and to be completed by the end of 2027.

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The city said it developed the plan for the section from St. Albert Trail to 97 Street after 18 months of technical evaluation and analysis, along with public and stakeholder engagement.

Several options were presented to the public in fall 2020.

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