Alberta Transportation’s ongoing, three-year Deerfoot Trail study has identified measures to safely improve traffic flow on the road and three of the projects are expected to begin in the months to come.

“They looked at (Deerfoot Trail) and said what are the congestion points, what are the ones that we can look at really quickly,” explained Ward 12 Councillor Shane Keating. “They came to some conclusions and they actually implemented some of the short-term fixes already. Now they’re looking at what can they do in the interim until they can do the long-term fixes.”

The short term recommendations, originally released in 2017, include:

  • The introduction of a basket weave in the area between the Southland Drive and Anderson Road/Bow Bottom Trail interchanges
  • A new on-ramp allowing northbound traffic on 11 Street Northeast access to Deerfoot Trail (north of the Beddington Trail overpass)
  • An auxiliary lane connection along the northbound lane of Deerfoot Trail between the McKnight Boulevard and 64 Avenue Northeast overpasses

“We’re trying to issue an RFP (request for proposal) to hire a consultant to undertake the design and supervision for some of the short term recommendations that were released by in 2017,” said Jerry Lau, Alberta Transportation’s infrastructure manager for the southern region. “However, none of these projects have been funded. We’ll get consultants retained and, when funding is approved, we can get started.”

Lau is optimistic about the impact the projects will have on Deerfoot Trail commuters but says the changes will not be a cure-all for the road.

“It would mean that  there would be better traffic flow for the average Calgarian,” explained Lau. “I think people need to temper their expectations. Deerfoot Trail will always be congested during the peak hours but hopefully we would improve their commute.”

Keating says the study is expected to be finalized by the end of 2019 but he hopes some recommendations can be adopted this summer including the possibility of variable speeds.

“It’s been used in many cases in the States and Europe for quite some time without even some of the newer smart technologies like sensors in the road. What they have done is actually reduce the speed on the road during certain periods of time. You would think that’s counter to get flow but when you reduce the speed you actually get critical density.”

According to Keating, lowering the speed limit during times of high congestion can increase the number of vehicles travelling through an area by up to 30 per cent while reducing the frequency of lane changes and improving safety.

In addition to variable speeds, long-term solutions outlined in the study include the introduction of lights on on-ramps to govern the number of vehicles and the spacing of vehicles entering Deerfoot Trail.

With files from CTV’s Jaclyn Brown