The city started work on a major interchange project in the city’s northwest on Wednesday that will take about two years to complete at a cost of $71M.

About 55,000 cars cruise through the intersection at 16 Avenue and Bowfort Road NW daily but that cruise will likely turn into a crawl at times as construction gets underway.

The city says the new interchange will give better access to Canada Olympic Park, area businesses and the community and that it will be able to handle about 95,000 vehicles per day when it’s done.

“The plan for the new interchange includes the creation of a free-flow six-lane roadway for 16 Avenue N.W./Trans-Canada Highway beneath a new interchange/bridge at Bowfort Road,” said Peter Rudolf, Project Manager for The City. “The interchange will have dual left turns in all directions and two through lanes in each direction on Bowfort Road.”

The city says the project will include improvements to Bowfort Road, 83 Street N.W. and Canada Olympic Drive.

The project has been batted around the city’s agenda since the 80s, but wasn't passed by council until last summer.

A six-lane road will be built next to the Trans-Canada to detour traffic while the interchange is being constructed and a temporary access road will be set up to give access to COP.

83 Street will be closed for about a year so crews can build the detour roadway and a roundabout.

The city says access for residents of Greenwood Village to area roads will be maintained during the construction process.

The new interchange will also incorporate future plans for an interchange at Stoney Trail and the widening of the Trans-Canada Highway if it is required.

Some people who use the roadway are questioning whether it’s worth the cost but others say improvements were long overdue.

“How can you say yes to this and no to the cancer centre or no to extra schools or, I don’t think it’s worth 71 million bucks, that’s a lot of money,” said one woman.

“There’s other places that need to be fixed that are a lot worse than this,” said a motorcyclist.

“The more traffic lights they get rid of the better but it’s not a cost free situation,” said another man.

“I don’t like it when my regular traffic pattern is closed off at all but I mean, if it’s for the greater good, I’m okay with it but they probably do need that major interchange cause of the new residential area that’s going in there but road closures are just part of the game,” said one commuter.

“I’m sure it’s going to be ugly at times, it’s a pretty high traffic point so,” said one Valley Ridge resident.

The city says the project should be completed by the summer of 2017.

For more information on the project, click HERE.