The opening of an interchange might make a great many eyes glaze over, but there's something a bit different about Calgary's $78-million project for drivers.
The diverging-diamond interchange, as the style is known, is now open to traffic at Macleod Trail and 162nd Avenue after two years of construction.
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Drivers might have a sense of dislocation, as they move from the right side of the road to the left on the bridge, which allows drivers to make left-hand turns without having to cross traffic. This should reduce the number of collisions, compared with more traditional interchanges. It will also help with traffic flow, according to the city.
It's the first interchange of its kind to be built in Canada.
"An interchange was needed at this location because of the traffic congestion from people moving along Macleod Trail into the adjacent business and service area, and for people getting to their homes in the nearby communities," said Peter Demong, a city councillor for Ward 14, in a news release.
"This area has had massive growth in the last 20 years."
Macleod Trail carries approximately 60,000 vehicles per day at this location, while 162nd Avenue/Sun Valley Blvd. has about 35,000 vehicles per day.
A traditional cloverleaf design was not feasible at this location because there isn't enough space, given the existing commercial development.
$255-million worth of interchanges
The Macleod Trail interchange is the second of four interchanges to open in Calgary this summer. All four will cost the city $255 million.
"Now is exactly the right time to be building," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi in a release.
"With the downturn in the economy and accelerated funding for projects like this, we're creating jobs, taking advantage of lower prices, and building critical transportation infrastructure that will reduce congestion on our roads."
The city says pathways and sidewalks in the area are also being improved as part of the project and are included in the interchange design.
Despite the ribbon cutting on Sunday, parts of the roadway will still be under construction into September.
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