Residents express worry over limited access onto west ring road during open house

Hundreds of residents gathered in the southwest community of Strathcona Tuesday to learn about the latest design plans for the final stretch of Calgary's ring road.

The west ring road — which will run between Highway 8 and the Trans-Canada Highway — represents the last nine kilometres of the road. The section will be built in three part, but the province says there are still some decisions to be make, such as which contractors to hire for the $1-billion project.

"We know where our interchanges are going to be, and we know what general design they are going to follow, but you never know when a great idea is going to pop up and you never know when something that maybe we hadn't thought about becomes an issue in the community," said Adam Johnson, a communications advisor with Alberta Transportation.

Some nearby residents said they felt frustrated by the roadway's design, which they said offered limited access onto Stoney Trail for those living west of Sarcee Trail.

"They're trying to get the whole road through there and they think Bow Trail Access is enough, and I don't think it is," said Rosemary Gillard, who lives in Springbank Hill.

Colleen Underwood/CBC

The province is building a major interchange at Bow Trail, but is limiting the on- and off-ramps for 17th Avenue S.W. and Old Banff Coach Road.

As a result, Gillard said she was worried about congestion at the Bow Trail exits, which "could be insane."

But Johnson said providing more access onto the ring road could cause accidents, because they'd be too close together, which wouldn't allow for a safe weaving distance.

"Ultimately we've worked so there are detours around so that you will still be able to access the road, maybe through the use of another city street," he said.

"If we were to build all of those to accommodate all-way access, we would have far too great a safety risk."

And Johnson said they chose Bow Trail because 17th Avenue is too close to Highway 8.

Others who attended the open house said they were pleased with the current design, specifically with the measures the province is taking to appease potential concerns of nearby residents when it comes to  noise by installing noise walls.

But, George Collin, who lives in Discovery Ridge, said he wished the province took similar considerations with the southwest leg.

"I'm just frustrated that if they could do it at [the western] portion of the ring road, why couldn't they consider it for the southwest ring road as well where our community is so close to the highway transpiration boundary?" said Collin.

The public will have two more opportunities to view ring road plans at information sessions being held this month.

  • Sept. 12, 5:30 - 8 p.m., Pinebrook Golf and Country Club, 166 Pinebrook Way.
  • Sept. 29, 9:30 am - 12 p.m., Valley Ridge Golf Club, 11618 Valley Ridge Park N.W.