City marks completion of ‘innovative’ $87M Crowchild Trail upgrades

The City of Calgary says its $87-million overhaul of Crowchild Trail at the Bow River crossing was one of the most complex projects of its kind ever undertaken in North America.

The three-year project added several changes and upgrades along Crowchild Trail from Bow Trail to 5th Avenue N.W., including new lanes, relocated ramps, an upgraded pathway network and rehabilitated and retrofitted bridges.

“The sheer magnitude and complexity of this project is what’s put it on the map,” the city said in a release marking the completion of the job.

  • Watch the video above to see how workers built a bridge under the existing bridge to expand the five-decade-old structure — without disturbing the environmentally sensitive riverbed below or closing lanes during Calgarians’ regular work hours.

In order to carry out construction while keeping all lanes of traffic open in both directions between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays, the city says it had to get creative.

“The project team took the innovative approach of building temporary platforms directly below the bridges, which enabled all necessary work to take place over the Bow River, over a set of CP Railway tracks, public transit tracks and other major roadways,” the city said.

The three-year rebuilding of the Bow River section of Crowchild Trail cost $87 million. (City of Calgary)

“This approach also enabled them to work under the bridges during the day while vehicles continued to pass freely overhead, and fish habitats and wildlife remained undisturbed below.”

Crews also found a way to reuse the original 1960s structures by rehabilitating and widening the bridges that were already in place.

“This approach proved to be better for the environment (less waste) and helped reduce the costs associated with building brand new bridges and demolishing the existing ones, not to mention the significant traffic impacts that would have resulted from replacing the bridges altogether.”

The comprehensive upgrades to Crowchild Trail are mostly complete, save for some minor work, cleanup and landscaping. (City of Calgary)

The upgrades include:

  • A new, relocated westbound Bow Trail-to-northbound Crowchild Trail ramp to the right side of Crowchild Trail.
  • A new, relocated westbound 10th Avenue S.W.-to-northbound Crowchild Trail ramp to the right side of Crowchild Trail.
  • Complete rehabilitation of six bridges that cross over the river, Memorial Drive and Crowchild Trail.
  • A new northbound lane along Crowchild Trail between Bow Trail and 5th Ave N.W. on widened bridges.
  • A new southbound traffic lane along Crowchild Trail between Memorial Drive and Bow Trail on widened bridges.
  • New traffic lights at the intersection of 10th Avenue S.W. and Bow Trail.
  • A new pedestrian crossing at Parkdale Boulevard and Kensington Road N.W.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says Calgarians will notice the improvements.

“Now we have a situation where we have more through lanes, where there will be less changing and people should be able to see significant improvements in their commute, so this is a big day for us,” he said.

Some landscaping and other minor work still needs to be done, so city officials say there could still be a few lane closures in the weeks ahead.

  • Watch a video from the city that summarizes the project:

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