Deerfoot Trail study recommends 5 short-term improvements

WATCH ABOVE: There are five recommendations from the City of Calgary and Alberta Transportation to improve some of the congestion along Alberta’s busiest freeway. As Jenna Freeman reports, despite the recommendations, traffic headaches won’t be going away anytime soon.

The City of Calgary has released the findings of a study aimed at making Deerfoot Trail safer and more efficient.

The study, a joint venture between the city and Alberta Transportation, looked at the 37.5 kilometres of roadway that runs between the Stoney Trail interchange in the city’s north and south.

How to improve Deerfoot Trail: City of Calgary launches study

During the study, officials were able to determine five recommendations for short-term improvement, including:

  • A southbound basket weave at Southland Drive to Anderson Road / Bow Bottom Trail S.E.
  • A “Jughandle” intersection at 32 Avenue / 12 Street N.E.
  • Left-turn restrictions at McKnight Boulevard / 12 Street N.E.
  • A northbound ramp connection between McKnight Boulevard and 64 Avenue N.E.
  • A new northbound on-ramp from 11 Street N.E.

Although the recommendations have been made, senior transportation engineer Jeffrey Xu said there isn’t currently any funding to implement any of the improvements.

“Once funding is allocated, the short-term improvement recommendations are lower-cost options that could be implemented within two years,” he said.

Xu said during the top five recommendations were determined by analyzing the results of more than 15 studies on Deerfoot Trail completed over the last 20 years, over 10,000 comments from citizens during the first phase of engagement in 2016, and a technical assessment of problems on the corridor.

To be considered, the short-term recommendations generated needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Provide benefits for five to 10 years
  • Able to be designed and implemented within two years of being funded
  • Offer improvements for problem locations that benefit the entire corridor
  • Result in benefits that are greater than the cost within 10 years

Xu indicated the short-term recommendations will fix some of the largest issues identified, but acknowledged the big problems can’t be addressed with short-term fixes.

“Many improvement options were identified and considered along the entire corridor – in both directions – including for the problem areas around 17 Avenue S.E., Glenmore Trail and the Ivor Strong Bridge.

“The designs that will address those areas require significant infrastructure investment,” Xu said. As such, he indicated they do not “meet the criteria” for consideration in the short-term.

“However, those areas will be addressed in the long-term recommendations.”

Most of Deerfoot Trail was built between 1971 and 1982. The city’s population has doubled since 1981 and city officials say the aging infrastructure is no longer meeting current traffic demand, resulting in traffic congestion, unreliability and safety concerns.

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With files from Jenna Freeman

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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