Ring Road Downstream Traffic Impacts

Ring Road Downstream Traffic Impacts
Author Councillor Pootmans

City of Calgary Administration presented to the Transportation and Transit Standing Policy Committee on the West and South West Ring Road Downstream Traffic Impacts Wednesday November 18, 2015. In April 2014, I brought forth a Notice of Motion calling for an Administrative review of West and South West Ring Road Impacts & Funding. This presentation reports on these findings and recommendations for City of Calgary as it relates to ring road impacts and transportation mobility in Calgary.

To alleviate expected and future traffic congestion on Sarcee Trail SW, I support strengthening the Sarcee Trail corridor including interchanges at Bow Trail and Richmond Road, as well as widening to six lanes (three in each direction) from Bow Trail to Richmond Road. I offered an amendment to the above stated report that directed City Administration to investigate funding options for the $250M upgrade to Sarcee Trail SW to be provided at the November 25, 2015 Business Plan and Budget Meeting. I later withdrew this amendment with the support of Administration to instead bring this directive as a Motion Arising at the Business Plan and Budget Meeting.

Administration has provided three recommendations for Council’s review for Sarcee Trail SW. These recommendations are dependent on timing of the West Calgary Ring Road (WCRR) and the need for further investment in Sarcee Trail if the WCRR does not proceed prior to the completion of the South West Calgary Ring Road (SWCRR). The Province has signaled that once the costs for the SWCRR are established, which is expected in Q3 2016 after a proposal has been accepted, the Alberta Government will be better able to address timing of the WCRR.

The key outcomes of the Option Analysis for Sarcee Trail SW.pdfOption Analysis for Sarcee Trail include:
1. In the absence of the WCRR, the Sarcee Trail corridor would require a number of improvements, including interchanges at Bow Trail and Richmond Road, as well as widening to six lanes (three in each direction) from Bow Trail to Richmond Road.
2. It is anticipated that further improvements to the Trans Canada Highway & Sarcee Trail interchange would be required if the WCRR is not in place.
3. A number of these improvements, most notably the Bow Trail interchange, would not be required for some time if the WCRR is in place.
4. The timing of the WCRR, therefore, is critical in defining the need for investment in Sarcee Trail.

At the Transportation and Transit Committee meeting, I asked several questions regarding community concerns including;
• Local area impacts due to the closure of 45 Street SW that provides access to the community of Glamorgan,
• Local area impacts to 85 Street SW with the closure of Lower Springbank Road SW,
• Traffic flow impacts with two sets of lights on the 69 Street SW Interchange and 69 Street SW & Springbank Boulevard SW,
• Noise attenuation, specifically on the north and south side of Highway 8 from Sarcee Trail SW to Lott Creek Boulevard SW, as well as light pollution,
• Considerations to the Sarcee Trail & Trans Canada Highway given the investment as part of the Trinity Development,
• The necessity of creating 16 lane overpasses to accommodate future expansion plans of an additional eight lanes,
• Funding allocations and budget implications of Sarcee Trail SW intersections at Richmond Road and Bow Trail.

Please see the agenda where you can find accompanying presentation materials, minutes and a video recap of the committee meeting.
Infrastructure impacting Ward 6 from the Cover Report
• Bow Trail, which will be widened to four lanes between 69 Street and 85 Street SW, with improvements to the Bow Trail & 85 Street SW intersection has already been funded through Investing in Mobility. Bow Trail will also be connected to the WCRR west of 85 Street SW.
• With the WCRR in place, Sarcee Trail volumes are anticipated to decrease (by approximately 30%) from current traffic volumes. However, if the WCRR is not in place when the SWCRR is completed, the Sarcee Trail corridor is anticipated to experience higher traffic volumes than the traffic volumes of today (increases of 10-25%).
• As well, previous analysis suggested that Richmond Road SW is anticipated to experience increased volumes (approximately 10-20%) once the SWCRR is in place, whether or not the WCRR is completed.
• The results indicate that the option which includes an interchange at Sarcee Trail & Richmond Road as well as a lane reversal on Bow Trail SW provides the most cost effective long term solution to address the anticipated downstream traffic impacts of the SWCRR.
• An interchange at Sarcee Trail & Richmond Road is anticipated to provide the benefit of reducing Richmond Road traffic volumes, and also provide benefit to Sarcee Trail in both the short and long term (i.e. with or without the WCRR in place).
• The cost for the Sarcee Trail & Richmond Road interchange and the potential lane reversal on Bow Trail between Sarcee Trail and 37 Street SW is expected to amount to $70-80M and is currently unfunded.
• It is expected that this project would rank highly in the next update of Investing in Mobility (expected in 2018) and would likely be part of the 10-year priorities. Work is currently underway to begin updating the functional plan for this interchange, so that the project is ready to advance in 2019-2021 before anticipated completion of the SWCRR.
• There is a continued need to work with The Province to advance the completion of the WCRR in order to alleviate the need for additional investment in infrastructure along Sarcee Trail SW.

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