Alberta's transportation minister says he has a plan to deal with bottlenecks on one of Calgary's main freeways, but it's not in the province's current three-year plan.
Coun. Shane Keating says it's up to the roughly 90,000 residents living along Deerfoot Trail to let the government know it is a priority.
"Budgetary issues are budgetary issues and we have to be as prudent and as efficient as possible," he said.
"Sometimes you have to take that leap forward and say let's do it now.... So we will be advocating on their behalf to do it today."
Minister Rick McIver says he has three possible solutions to help ease congestion along northbound Deerfoot.
The first would be adding a third lane to northbound Deerfoot near the westbound Anderson Road turnoff, as right now the right-hand lane in the area ends abruptly.
The next plan involves redesigning the interchange at Southland Drive while still allowing two lanes of traffic to exit off of Deerfoot.
Minister to push for changes
The exit ramp would be moved further north to help ease the congestion and extend the weaving distance by more than 200 metres, which could reduce some of the conflict between vehicles merging onto Deerfoot from Bow Bottow Trail and Anderson Road.
The other plan is to add a second exit lane from northbound Deerfoot onto Heritage Meadows.
The upgrades could bring relief for the roughly 140,000 daily commuters who use Deerfoot Trail through south Calgary. McIver says the three-year plan is renewed every spring, and he will be pushing for the changes.
"The fact that we have a plan that seems to be finding favour with Albertans now gives us the opportunity to look for where we can get it into the three-year plan," he said. Improvements to the Southland Drive and Anderson Road stretch are expected to cost $15 million.
"We've got over 100,000 people a day using Deerfoot and in morning and afternoon rush hours there's often half-hour to hour delays, so that's a pretty good indication right there that we need to look for ways to make it better," McIver said.
Coun. Keating is encouraging residents to email, call or write the minister and other Calgary MLAs to push for construction to start right away.