The recent release of the 2014 Provincial Budget brought with it some new details regarding the funding of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road. In addition, the Province has released some initial timing and staging details regarding the implementation of the road, including the possible division of the road into two separate construction projects.
The Budget and the $5 Billion Price Tag
Released on March 6, the 2014 Alberta Budget sets aside $2.698 billion towards both Calgary and Edmonton’s ring road projects over the next three years. Of this, Finance Minister Doug Horner noted that $1.8 billion is to be dedicated to the Southwest Calgary Ring Road. In an address on March 7 to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Minister Horner reportedly stated that the full construction of the remaining portion of Calgary’s ring road would cost around $5 billion. The decision to deliver the project via traditional delivery or through Public Private Partnerships has yet to be made, and the Province is currently “investigating the viability of delivering the final segment of Calgary’s ring road in two separate projects using the Public Private Partnership (P3) procurement process”
Construction Staging and Timing
The 2013 Ring Road agreement between the Province and the Tsuut’ina Nation is currently awaiting federal approval of the transfer of land from the Tsuut’ina reserve to the Province. Until the transfer is completed, no work can be undertaken on this portion of the road. In order to facilitate the timely construction of the ring road the Province is looking to split the outstanding segment of the project into two portions: a northern section, called the West Ring Road, and a southern section, called the Southwest Ring Road (see diagram above). This will allow the Province to begin work on the northern section, for which it already owns or controls the land required, while they await the completion of the land transfer.
Alberta Transportation’s website notes that if the Government approves the use of P3 agreements to construct the remaining part of the ring road, a Request for Qualification (RFQ) could be issued for the west leg as early as Spring 2014, with a contractor selected by the following spring. For the southwest leg (providing the terms of the Tsuut’ina agreement have been satisfied) the RFQ process could begin in Spring of 2015, with a contractor potentially chosen by “early 2016.”
A report from 2007 stated that the southwest portion of the ring road was estimated to take three years to construct, though the scale of the remaining portion of the road has changed since that time frame was given. No new timing estimates have been noted by the Province for the southwest section of the road, but Transportation Minister Wayne Drysdale did state in regards to the west leg “I’m hoping, maybe not this year but next year we’ll start building on the part outside the reserve but even that takes three years,”
The agreement with the Tsuut’ina does obligate the Province to complete and open the reserve portion of the ring road within 7 years of the transfer of the reserve land.
West Ring Road
The more northerly section of the road, the West Ring Road, runs from just north of the current Stoney Trail/Trans Canada Highway interchange (located west of Canada Olympic Park) to 69th street SW via 101st street SW and Highway 8. This alignment is located entirely within the western portion of the Provincial Transportation Utility Corridor.
In addition to this part of the road, which was originally detailed in the West Ring Road plans of 2009, there are a few notable additions to the project. In order to expand the capacity of the existing Stoney Trail north of the Trans Canada Highway, a new bridge is slated to be constructed over the Bow river adjacent to the existing bridge. As well, a new bridge is planned for constructed over the Elbow river just west of the city limits along Highway 8. This is in addition to the three bridges that will be constructed over the Elbow river in the vicinity of the Weaselhead. Interchange work at Valley Ridge Boulevard NW on the Trans Canada Highway is also being incorporated into the project.
The West Ring Road Project includes:
- 15 km of six-lane divided roadway
- 29 bridges
- River bridge at the Bow River
- River bridge at the Elbow River on Highway 8
- 7 interchanges:
- Highway 1 systems interchange (partially constructed)
- Old Banff Coach Road SW partial interchange
- Bow Trail SW interchange
- 17 Avenue SW partial interchange
- Highway 8 systems interchange
- 69 Street SW interchange
- Valley Ridge Boulevard NW/Highway 1 interchange
- 2 Avenue SW underpass
The Southwest Ring Road
The Southwest Ring Road runs from 69th street SW to Macleod Trail via the Tsuut’ina reserve, 37th street SW and Highway 22x. In addition to the ring road itself, extensions to 90th avenue and Southland drive are being connected to the road, and a widening of Glenmore Trail with a new interchange at 37th street SW will be constructed as part of the project.
Beyond the reserve portion of the road that is subject to the 2013 agreement, this alignment also incorporates the South Ring Road segment. This part of the road, incorporating Highway 22x from 37th street SW to Macleod Trail, was largely designed in 2008 and 2009 and was originally separate from the Southwest Calgary Ring Road project.
The Southwest Ring Road includes:
- 26 km of six and eight-lane divided roadway
- 37 bridges
- Crossings of Elbow River and Fish Creek
- Rail flyover
- 13 interchanges:
- Westhills Way SW interchange
- Sarcee Trail SW interchange
- Old Strathcona Road SW interchange
- 90 Avenue SW interchange
- Anderson Road SW interchange
- 130 Avenue SW interchange
- 146 Avenue SW interchange
- 162 Avenue SW interchange
- Stoney Trail/Highway 22X systems interchange
- Spruce Meadows Way SW/James McKevitt Road SW interchange
- Sheriff King Street SW/6 Street SW partial interchange
- Macleod Trail SW interchange
- 37 Street SW/Glenmore Trail interchange