The end of the southwest Anthony Henday Drive construction project is another step closer to completion.
On Tuesday morning, both westbound and eastbound bridges over the North Saskatchewan River were opened to two lanes of traffic with reduced speed at 60 km/h.
The last section of the deck on the eastbound bridge at the North Saskatchewan River was poured on July 10, a spokesperson for Alberta Transportation confirmed.
While it’s still an “active construction zone,” oversize and overweight vehicles are allowed on both bridges.
Now, the contractor will finish the work on the new third lane for both east and westbound bridges. Barriers need to be installed, the curb poured, the bridge deck waterproofed, lines painted and lights and signs added.
“While no further significant traffic shut downs or delays are expected, some lane closures may be required as lane paving is completed,” Alberta Transportation spokesperson Jesse Furber told Global News. “To minimize traffic impacts, which are expected to be minimal, this work will be completed at night, during off-peak hours.”
Alberta Transportation said Wednesday the entire southwest Anthony Henday Drive expansion project “remains on target to be completed this fall.”
The road-widening project started in 2020.
For three years, drivers have endured extensive construction on the busy stretch of the city’s ring road.
Construction has been ongoing since 2020 to widen each bridge deck over the North Saskatchewan River from two to three lanes of traffic, as part of the overall much-needed widening of the southwest leg.
Several times in the past year, the province — which is responsible for the freeway — and construction contractor Carmacks have closed one deck at a time on the weekend.
For the last several weeks, traffic was rerouted to the opposite bridge — flowing one lane in each direction — and the speed limit was reduced to 60 km/h so that new bridge decks could be poured and paved.
The project is a year behind schedule but the province said the entire southwest Henday widening project — from Gateway Boulevard to Whitemud Drive — is on track to be complete by September.
The Henday was originally designed to meet traffic capacity requirements through 2020 with a plan to accommodate up to 40,000 vehicles per day.
The entire ring road took 26 years to build, and as it grew, so too did the surrounding neighbourhoods.
That initial capacity in southwest Edmonton was surpassed in 2009 and by 2020, traffic volumes averaged 80,000 vehicles per day, according to Carmacks.
Work to expand an 18-kilometre stretch between Calgary Trail and Whitemud Drive began in 2020.
Adding an extra lane in each direction is expected to accommodate up to 120,000 vehicles per day.
— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News