Calgary drivers to see benefit from road construction blitz
Glenmore Trail-Ogden Road set to open next week
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When Calgary entered the downturn at the end of 2014, the thought on city council was to invest in shovel-ready infrastructure and take advantage of the labour that was suddenly available.
This summer, Calgarians are going to start seeing the results from that investment, according to Michael Thompson, director of transportation infrastructure with the city.
“When you look at the four major interchanges that are opening, plus the eight major road reconstructions we have opened up, plus the transit projects, plus the pedestrian bridge across Macleod Trail into Chinook – everything combined, it really is working to improve mobility for citizens across the city,” he said.
The city will be opening the first of those four major interchanges next week. Traffic will begin flowing over the new overpass at Glenmore Trail and Ogden Road Wednesday.
No longer will traffic get tied up when a train rolls into town via that route, and it’s been built ready for the Green Line to roll under it as well.
Thompson said investments like the one at Glenmore Trail and Ogden Road lead to private investment.
“It makes us more competitive,” he said. “When businesses are looking to relocate, it’s easy to get in and out from a logistical standpoint, so they’ll want to build a storage facility or a manufacturing facility out there. That creates jobs as well.”
The city estimates 3,200 jobs have been directly created due to these recent transportation projects.
“It’s not just those jobs but it’s the money they spend in the community,” said Thompson.
Coun. Shane Keating, chair of the city’s Transportation and Transit Committee, said it helped that planning of the interchanges had been in the works for several years before the downturn.
Overall he’s pleased with the work that’s getting done. He didn’t want to see the city borrow more money to take on the construction.
“I think we funded what we could with the funds that we had,” said Keating.
Thompson said the improvements aren’t just for drivers. They’re taking the opportunity to do things like widen sidewalks for pedestrians, and make trips safer for cyclists.
“We’re trying to make the infrastructure so people enjoy using it as well, but at the same time get value for Calgarians,” he said.