A major construction project is set to begin on Wednesday that will widen Bow Trail, aiming to reduce traffic and improve community connections with added walking and cycling pathways.

The project, with an estimated cost of $20M, will widen the areas between 85 Street and Old Banff Coach Road S.W., add extra lanes in both directions and bring in some new pathways for pedestrians and cyclists.

It will also see a new pedestrian crossing at 77 Street S.W. and a lowered speed limit from 70 km/h down to 60 km/h.

Crews needed to remove a number of trees from along the stretch of road to accomodate for the new look, but there are plans to add just over 750 new trees to replace them.

Michael Krahn, project manager with the Bow Trail Widening Project, says work is expected to begin immediately.

"We are going to be building the north side of the rpad first. We are going to build the future westbound lanes while maintaining traffic on the existing lanes. We will then reroute traffic onto the new lanes once they are constructed to rehab the existing lanes."

He says that the work is necessary because the road is operating at near-capacity.

"To facilitate traffic in this area and to provide an entry to the future west Calgary ring road, these upgrades are necessary."

Krahn says that commuters won't just have a new road to enjoy, but some improved intersections too.

"The intersection of Bow Trail and 85 Street S.W., there will be dual left turns in either direction. Right now, this is a major intersection of concern. There have been backups in morning commute times. The dual left turns in both directions with two through lanes of traffic with greatly help reduce congestion."

Ward 6 Jeff Davison says the new project will help alleviate the infrastructure deficit on the west side of the city.

"It has been a problem commute and, as we add density, we need to make sure we are proactive about the infrastructure that's required and that's what we're seeing today; Bow Trail being twinned."

The estimated completion date for the Bow Trail work is summer 2019.

All of the staged work is scheduled to take place during off-peak commute times to minimize impact on rush hour. It's anticipated to have minimal impact to traffic.

The Bow Trail project is one of 29 major transportation projects scheduled for this year.