Province Announces Upgrades to Deerfoot Trail

Today, Minister of Transportation Brian Mason and Minister of Service Brian Malkinson were in town to announce upgrades to Deerfoot Trail worth $478 million. The announcement includes 21km of new lanes, one southbound and one northbound from Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail to Beddington Trail which will help relieve some of the congestion caused by these choke points during rush hour.

In addition, improvements will be made to several interchanges, including at Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail, Southland Drive, Glenmore Trail, 17th Ave SE and Memorial Drive. These changes, once implemented, will hopefully prevent massive slowdowns from traffic merging onto or getting off of Deerfoot Trail. You can see the planned improvements in the image below:

While these upgrades are welcome news for Ward 12 and the rest of the city, we will need to wait four more years for construction to start, with the construction period lasting three to four years. The province still needs to finalize the long-term plan, but said that it would immediately proceed with the engineering and design work. Deerfoot Trail badly needs improvements, notably through this 21 km stretch where additional lanes will be added, and I believe that this should not be a partisan issue. Today’s announcement puts the money in place and gets the work kicked off and I believe that regardless of a change in government, this is a badly needed infrastructure investment and it will move forward.

Deerfoot Trail is the single busiest road in Alberta, with some sections seeing an average of 175,000 vehicle trips per day and a significant portion of the road seeing over 150,000 trips. While construction will not begin until 2023, the Province is still undertaking proposals for short-term fixes, including variable speed limits that should provide some relief in the interim. Once these longer term upgrades are in place, we will be able to continue looking at intelligent traffic systems to maximize traffic flows, particularly at peak hours. With at least three lanes running through the entire freeway, we can look at other options such as HOV lanes to encourage carpooling, express lanes for those driving a longer stretch of the road, or some combination. These solutions will require some study to determine their effectiveness, but I believe we can continue to make improvements on this important transport corridor.

Coupled with the Green Line, improvements to Deerfoot Trail will give residents of Ward 12 and SE Calgary in general much easier access to downtown and the rest of the city. This is an absolutely fantastic announcement not just for my ward, but for the entire city. Removing just a little bit of congestion on a road makes a big difference, and this will remove a lot of congestion. All of us who rely on Deerfoot to get around will have a lot more time to spend with our family or just relax at home after a day at the office. These improvements will also help make our wonderful Ward 12 communities even more attractive than they already are to potential homebuyers.

As always, I welcome your thoughtful comments and concerns. You can share them with me here.