Road work on Crowchild Trail will continue into 2020

Despite optimistic hopes to the contrary, upgrades to one of Calgary's major thoroughfares will not wrap up at the end of this year.

Work on the $87-million project began in 2017

Traffic congestion on Calgary's Crowchild Trail is expected to continue into 2020, as planned upgrades are delayed beyond initial projections. (CBC)

Upgrades to one of Calgary's major thoroughfares will not wrap up at the end of this year, as was initially hoped.

Construction crews have been working to improve Crowchild Trail since the fall of 2017, leading to narrowed lanes and reduced speed limits.

Jeff Baird, a senior transportation engineer with the city, said a more precise timeline will come at the end of 2019.

"A lot of the major components and upgrades will be complete in the next three or four weeks," he said. "We'll push hard to the end of 2019 and we'll be able to report back on how the work in 2020 will look."

The $87-million project is intended to improve traffic flows and includes upgrades to the bridge as well as stretches of road.

Baird said the delays can be attributed to weather and the roadway's existing, aging infrastructure.

"It's hard to overstate the challenge on a project like this," he said. "We're rehabilitating numerous bridges, widening those same bridges, working over a river, over train tracks."

Jeff Baird said unique challenges posed by Crowchild Trail had contributed to the delayed upgrades. (CBC Calgary)

Despite the timetable shifting into next year, Baird said the project is expected to remain on budget.

"There's a number of contingencies, obviously, built in going into a project like this, knowing we're going to be coming up on unforeseen circumstances, tight site conditions and access issues," he said. "So we account for that the best we can in the initial budget, so we're still working in that $87 million."

Though construction will continue, motorists may begin to notice signs of progress over the next few weeks.

"Continue to have patience with us, but it'll be noticeable in the decrease in people on site and all the orange cones starting to disappear in certain areas," Baird said. 

The upgrades set to conclude in 2020 are just one phase of planned upgrades to Crowchild Trail, with future upgrades eyed in the coming decades.

With files from Rob Brown


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