WATCH: Calgary’s latest big construction project is being seen as a forward thinking change in how we design our interchanges. Expected to be much safer and quicker for commuters slogging through a major intersection. It’s also hoped it will build community spirit. Doug Vaessen explains.
CALGARY – The city has announced plans to construct an interchange on Macleod Trail that will be unlike anything Calgarians have ever seen before.
Calgary’s first-ever divergent diamond interchange (DDI) will be located at Macleod Trail and 162nd Avenue South.
A diverging diamond interchange is designed in such a way that the two directions of traffic on 162nd Avenue will briefly cross to the opposite side of each other on bridges over Macleod Trail. This allows for more effective traffic flow at the signalized intersections within the interchange, and for left-turning vehicles to proceed without crossing opposing traffic.
“The new interchange allows for free-flowing traffic on Macleod Trail while making it easier for people to use the services off 162 Avenue and Sun Valley Boulevard,” said Ward 13 Councillor, Diane Colley-Urquhart.
“The interchange will also allow motorists to travel smoother and faster along Macleod Trail, whether they are going to communities in the far south of Calgary, or heading north towards the city centre,” added Ward 14 Councillor, Peter Demong.
WATCH: This YouTube video shows the design for an innovative new diamond interchange for Macleod Trail and 162 Ave, South.
The interchange design, which was first seen in Missouri, was once hailed by Popular Science magazine as one of the “100 best innovations of 2009.” Since then, it has been used in a number of locations in the United States, and in various countries around the world.
When completed, Calgary’s DDI will be the first built in any urban centre in Canada.
This design significantly reduces delays and improves efficiency, compared to a more traditional diamond interchange.
“The DDI has significant operational benefits, particularly related to the timing of traffic signals which allows for more effective traffic flow through the interchange,” said Kara Wolfe, Senior Transportation Engineer and Project Manager for The City.
“The DDI design also allows us to begin developing a simple detour system early in the construction schedule and the opportunity of working on the bridge overpasses much earlier in the project schedule.”
Construction of the first phase of a roadway detour will start later this summer, and will allow for the construction of two bridge overpasses this fall and winter.
Other detour phases and more roadway construction will take place in 2016 and 2017.
It is anticipated that the interchange will be completed by the fall of 2017.
This project also includes intersection improvements at Shawville Boulevard and 162 Avenue, and a basket weave structure to accommodate access for southbound traffic onto Shawville Boulevard (south end of area shopping centre).
The estimated cost for this project is $65 million.