After five years of construction, one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Alberta’s history fully opens to traffic.

The $1.42 billion, 31-kilometre Southwest Calgary Ring Road connects Highway 8 (near the Elbow Springs Golf Club) to Macleod Trail SE and makes up about 20 per cent of the entire Calgary Ring Road.

“Opening this section of the Calgary Ring Road is a major accomplishment,” said Rajan Sawhney, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation. “This route is part of a larger east-west trade corridor that will enhance access to markets in and out of Alberta.”

Twelve kilometres of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road opened in October 2020. A 10-kilometre section through the former Tsuut’ina Nation lands is called Tsuut’ina Trail.

“The opening of this section of our ring road is an important link for our city’s future growth and transport infrastructure,” added Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary. “The Southwest now has another connection to provide access for residents and businesses to discover and interact with more communities across Calgary.”

Once complete, the Calgary Ring Road will provide 101 kilometres of free-flow travel supporting economic growth, creating new travel options for parts of the city that have been underserved for decades, and improving market access across the region.

  • The (SWCRR) connects Highway 8 and Highway 22X at Macleod Trail.
  • The project consists of:
    • 49 bridges
    • 31 kilometres of new six and eight-lane divided highway
    • 14 interchanges
    • three river crossings
    • two river realignments (Elbow River and Fish Creek)
    • two bridge rehabilitations
    • one road flyover
    • one railway crossing (flyover)
    • one tunnel
  • Cost – $1.42 billion; including $333.6 million from the Government of Canada’s National Infrastructure Component.
  • Construction began in 2016 and supported about 2,000 jobs.
  • Traffic projections – between 80,000 and 100,000 vehicles per day by 2050.
  • Construction involved:
    • 16 million cubic metres of excavated earth. If 1,650 NHL sized rinks full of dirt were stacked on top of each other, that’s how much earth was moved for this project.
    • 13 million kilograms of rebar
    • One million metric tonnes of asphalt
  • During the 2020 and 2021 construction seasons, work included:
    • landscaping, grading, completion of drainage
    • electrical work on street and traffic lights
    • signage, safety barrier and guardrail installation
    • utility work, base and finish paving, and line painting
  • Tsuut’ina Trail, (Sarcee Trail to Fish Creek Boulevard) opened on October 1, 2020.
  • The final section of the ring road, the West Calgary Ring Road, will fully open in 2024.
Featured image: The Anderson Road, Tsuut’ina Trail interchange on the SW Calgary ring road. (@jessesalus, Twitter)
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