Deerfoot Trail study looks ahead 30+ years to reduce future traffic woes
Study recommends variety of changes to ease congestion, make interchanges safer
Around 180,000 vehicles roll along Deerfoot Trail each day — and a newly completed study hopes to ensure that in future years fewer drivers of those vehicles will spend their time at a standstill, grumbling at the traffic.
On Monday, the City of Calgary and Alberta Transportation released recommendations aimed at understanding what future road users will need and guiding upgrades and new additions, such as interchanges or carpool lanes.
The review covered 35 kilometres, 18 existing interchanges and one future interchange, and looked at increasing safety and capacity as well as reducing travel time.
In the short term, the study recommends changes like adding capacity with a new carpool lane between Barlow Trail and Airport Trail, providing a direct connection from 11th Street to Deerfoot Trail, and widening the northbound loop from Deerfoot Trail to Anderson Road.
In the medium term, between 11 and 20 years from now, the study suggests improvements to these interchanges: Anderson Road and Bow Bottom Trail, 16th Avenue N.E., Heritage Meadows Way and Barlow Trail.
Beyond 20 years from now, it suggests looking at improving the 50th Avenue S.E. connector, Airport Trail interchange, Memorial Drive interchange, and more.
The four-year-long study cost $4 million dollars, funded by Alberta Transportation which manages the road as it's a provincial highway. Construction on some improvements could start as early as 2022.
"Traffic on the Deerfoot is a common complaint of every Calgarian. With this study complete and its practical recommendations in hand, I look forward to realizing improvements that will make it safer and easier to get to work, school, and around Calgary for generations to come," said Transportation Minister Ric McIver in a release.
The city said it heard from thousands of respondents who travel Deerfoot each day, and from others who don't because they don't feel safe on the road.
Alberta Transportation has pledged $210 million for improvements to Deerfoot Trail as part of the 2020 capital plan.
The full Deerfoot Trail study can be viewed on the city's website.