Crowchild Trail construction means lane closures and speed reductions for two years

Driving over the Bow River on Crowchild Trail will be even slower for the next couple of years but the city says the frustration will be worth it when new travel lanes and streamlined access ramps open in spring 2019.

Lanes will be closed only nights and weekends while major work on bridges is underway

This section of Crowchild Trail will undergo a massive transformation under a plan approved by a council committee earlier this year. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

Driving over the Bow River on Crowchild Trail will be even slower for the next couple of years as the city upgrades this crossing — one of the most notorious traffic bottlenecks in Calgary.

But the city says the added frustration will be worth it when new travel lanes and streamlined on and off ramps open in spring 2019.

"These improvements will really go a long way to ease that congestion," project manager Jeff Baird said.

"Things will move a lot smoother."

The section of Crowchild Trail that runs over top of Bow Trail (seen at right on this map), the Bow River and Memorial Drive (at left) will be under construction for the next two years. (Google Maps)

The $87-million project, which gets underway this week, is the first step in a much larger vision for reconfiguring Crowchild Trail over the next decade or two.

But for now, the city is focusing on functional upgrades to the section of Crowchild that runs between 17th Avenue S.W. and 16th Avenue N.W.

​Lanes to be added

The work beginning right away includes:

  • Adding a northbound and southbound traffic lane on Crowchild Trail between Memorial Drive and Bow Trail (an estimated two-year job).
  • Completing life-cycle maintenance and rehabilitation on the bridges over Memorial Drive, the Bow River and Bow Trail (an estimated two-year job).
  • Moving the on-ramps that lead from westbound Bow Trail/10th Avenue S.W. onto northbound Crowchild Trail to the east side of Crowchild (an estimated one-year job).

Additional work set to begin in the spring includes the addition of a northbound lane between Memorial Drive and Fifth Avenue N.W. and repositioning the off-ramp from northbound Crowchild to eastbound Memorial.

Related work is also set to begin next year farther to the north, including noise walls along Crowchild near 16th Avenue N.W. and a new ramp to connect westbound 16th with northbound Crowchild.

Crowchild Trail upgrades explained

4 years ago
Duration 0:47
The nuts and bolts of how the road construction will affect you over the next two years. 0:47

Pedestrian underpass to close for months

The pedestrian and bicycle underpass beneath Crowchild Trail that spans the Bow River will also be closed, starting Nov. 6. It is set to reopen in the spring.

The river crossing at Edworthy Park, farther to the west, will still be available but the city says winter conditions can make that route challenging.

As a result, the city recommends pedestrians and cyclists use the 14th Street bridge as an alternative to cross the river, while the Crowchild underpass is closed.

How traffic will be affected

Construction work will be largely done at night and on weekends to minimize the impact on traffic.

"We'll be managing the impact due to construction as best we can but there will be disruptions," Baird said.

There won't be any lane closures during the day on weekdays, but lane widths and speed limits will be reduced.

Here's what you can expect to happen in the coming days and weeks: 

  • Oct. 25: Construction Ahead signs installed.
  • Oct. 26: Speed limit reduced to 50 km/h between 17th Avenue S.W. and 16th Avenue N.W.
  • Oct. 26: Pathway closure signs installed (closure goes into effect Nov. 6).
  • Oct. 27: Surveyors out during the day.
  • Oct. 28: Lane painting and lanes narrowed (9 p.m.).
  • Oct. 30: Lane closures begin (9 p.m.).
    • One-lane closure (Beginning Fridays at 9 p.m., ending Mondays at 5 a.m.).
    • One- to two-lane closures (Weekdays 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.).
  • Nov. 6: Bow River/Crowchild Trail pedestrian underpass closure.

"We'll be working through the night, through the winter," Baird said.

"There's a lot to get done in these couple of years."

More information about the project can be found at

With files from Colin Hall