Province commits to improvements on Deerfoot Trail

The Alberta government is proposing a public-private partnership to improve bottlenecks along Deerfoot Trail in south Calgary.  (Monty Kruger/CBC - image credit)
The Alberta government is proposing a public-private partnership to improve bottlenecks along Deerfoot Trail in south Calgary. (Monty Kruger/CBC - image credit)

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith committed Friday to improving Deerfoot Trail, proposing a public-private partnership to bring extra lanes, new bridges and revamped interchanges to south Calgary.

"Improving Deerfoot Trail will make the commutes of Calgarians easier, safer and faster," Smith said in a statement, adding that the upgrades to the major north-south corridor are much overdue.

Earlier this year, the provincial government scrapped the idea of using a public-private partnership to pay for improvements to Deerfoot Trail, opting instead to carry out projects along the freeway in smaller pieces.

But now a public-private partnership is back on, as Alberta transportation officials say they've amended the procurement process for this specific project.

Provincial officials are aiming to award a contract in the spring. No budget estimates were immediately released.

The proposed improvements for Deerfoot Trail are targeted at bottlenecks between Glenmore Trail and Bow Bottom Trail/Anderson Road.

CBC
CBC

Per transportation officials, the proposed upgrades include:

  • Improving interchanges at Bow Bottom Trail and Anderson Road, Southland Drive and Glenmore Trail.

  • Building seven new bridges at Anderson Road and Bow Bottom Trail, Bow River, Southland Drive and Glenmore Trail.

  • Adding additional lanes to Deerfoot Trail along the corridor and through the Anderson Road/Bow Bottom Trail and Glenmore Trail interchanges.

"Our goal is to significantly increase capacity at several highway choke points to cut down on congestion," said Devin Dreeshen, minister of transportation and economic corridors, in a statement.

Should a contract be awarded in the spring, construction could begin next year and wrap up in 2027, transportation officials said.

The improvements to Deerfoot Trail are expected to reduce commutes along the freeway by 15 per cent during the morning rush and roughly 22 per cent during peak evening traffic, officials say. 

Following Smith's announcement, Shannon Phillips, the NDP finance critic, said the plan was just picking up on a project started by the New Democrats and delayed by the previous UCP leadership.

"So, congratulations on continuing a project that started several years ago," Phillips said in a news conference.

Previously, as part of the 2020 capital plan, Alberta Transportation had pledged $210 million for improvements along Deerfoot Trail, the busiest freeway in the province.

An estimated 180,000 vehicles travel on Deerfoot Trail each day, and experts say that figure will only increase as the city grows.